Tooth Extraction

Dental Extraction

Tooth extractions are performed whenever an affected tooth cannot be preserved and/or may cause pain or problems if not removed.  Tooth removal can be simple and virtually painless, but in some cases where surgical removal is required, it can also be quite complicated and painful.

There are two types of teeth extraction: simple, and surgical.  A simple extraction is preferred whenever the tooth can be seen and easily accessed, and requires only local anesthetic.  The dentist will simply grip the tooth with forceps, wiggle the tooth back and forth to loosen it, and then pull it out.  However, in cases where the tooth lies beneath the gums or is not easily accessible, such as with wisdom tooth extraction or with a tooth that has been broken off, surgical removal may be necessary.  In this case, the dentist or an oral surgeon will have to cut and pull back the gums in order to extract the tooth.  This procedure may use either local anesthesia or general anesthesia, depending on the situation and the age and health of the patient.  If your procedure requires general anesthesia, you will be instructed not to eat for 6 to 8 hours before surgery, and should have someone drive you, as you will not be able to drive immediately after the procedure.



A simple dental extraction will not cause much prolonged pain, and whatever pain is present can usually be treated with over-the-counter pain relievers.  However, a surgical tooth extraction – like wisdom teeth extraction – may cause significant pain and discomfort, and your dentist will prescribe pain medications.  Surgical extractions will also involve bleeding inside the mouth, and you will be required to bite a piece of gauze for up to 30 minutes to allow the incision to clot.  Slight bleeding may continue for up to 24 hours after the gauze is removed.  You may also have swelling, which can be reduced by placing ice packs on the face.  The incisions from surgical extractions usually take up to 2 weeks to heal, and for a few weeks following the surgery, smoking and drinking from a straw must be avoided to prevent further bleeding or dry sockets.



There are risks involved with dental extractions, including dry socket (where there is no clot or the clot in the hole dissolves too soon, making the bone beneath the wound vulnerable to air and food particles), potential damage to surrounding teeth, incomplete extractions (which can result in infections), jaw fractures, holes in the sinuses, soreness in the jaw or muscles, and nerve damage and/or numbness.  The more serious of these potential side effects are rare, and generally a surgical tooth extraction can be performed with no major complications, and will heal within a few weeks.

Tooth extractions are often necessary to prevent serious future problems, and often the tooth extraction cost is covered by the patient’s dental insurance plan.  A successful tooth extraction will provide relief to the patient of a damaged or problematic tooth, and will prevent possible complications from the tooth remaining in the mouth.

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