Tooth Extraction: Procedure, Aftercare, Costs and Recovery

Learn more about when to get your tooth extracted, and how a trained dentist does it.

What Is Tooth Extraction and Why are Teeth Removed?

Even though permanent teeth were intended to last a lifetime, there are reasons why they may need to be extracted. Getting wisdom teeth removed is fairly common for many people nowadays. However, that is not the only reason to undergo an extraction. A crowded mouth necessitates extraction because teeth need to be properly aligned and it is not possible if they are too big for the mouth. Similarly if a tooth is unable to break through the gum, it may be required to be removed.

Keeping your mouth healthy is vital for many patients undergoing medical procedures such as chemotherapy or organ transplant. This reduces risk of infection for the patient. Furthermore, tooth extraction is an absolute necessity in the case of tooth decay that has led to the tooth becoming irreparable.

At first root canal treatment is applied but if the tooth is still infected or damaged, the only viable solution left is to ,extract it. In the cases of a patient getting braces, teeth may be extracted in order to make room for the other teeth. Lastly, gum diseases are also responsible for tooth extraction, as they often cause teeth to loosen up.

Extraction is carried out by a dentist or orthodontist, and is a fairly quick process that may involve some type of anesthesia – general, local or intravenous. A combination of these may also be utilised. Teeth that are impacted in a certain manner or below the surface may be complicated to extract, while those which are visible are much simpler to operate on.


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What Happens During a Tooth Extraction Procedure?

Tooth extraction is a relatively simple procedure but it may be complicated in certain cases. During the process, the area around the tooth is numbed by the operating dentist or orthodontist using an anesthetic.

Depending on the patient, the dentist may also opt for an intravenous sedative or medication to help the patient with anxiety. As opposed to a standard extraction where the tooth is pulled directly, an impacted tooth may be required to be broken down before it is extracted.

There are two main types of tooth extraction practiced worldwide. Simple extraction involves the removal of teeth which are visible in the mouth. Examples of such teeth are damaged or decayed teeth, or the ones that are removed before getting braces. Only local anesthesia is used in these cases. How long pain lasts after tooth extraction general varies but over the counter pain medication is enough for tooth extraction pain after the procedure. In the case of surgical extraction however, general anesthesia may be administered to the patient.

In addition to that, prescription pain medication may also be given for post extraction pain. Surgical extraction is carried out for removal of teeth that are not visible. This may be the case for when a tooth has not yet come in or has broken off completely.

Preparing for Tooth Extraction

In order to receive the best possible treatment without any complications, it is advisable to use a few best practices on the day of extraction:

  • Having someone to drive you home in case of general anesthesia.
  • Informing your dentist regarding nausea/ vomiting, or a cold.
  • Not smoking.
  • In the case of receiving intravenous anesthesia, not eating or drinking six to eight hours before the appointment, but your dentist can guide you on exact times.

Antibiotics or other medication might be prescribed by your dentist in the case of a special medical condition, a compromised immune system or a long expected surgery. It is important that your dentist is informed if you have any other medical condition such as renal disease, diabetes, thyroid disease, hypertension, damaged heart valves, an artificial joint, liver disease, adrenal disease, bacterial endocarditis, a congenital heart defect, or anything else.

It is also necessary that your dentist is informed in case you are soon being treated for another medical condition with an intravenous drug called biophosphate. Extraction should be done before the treatment in that case otherwise your jaw could be at the risk of bone death.

Tooth Extraction Aftercare and Healing

Aftercare following an extraction is an integral part of a successful tooth extraction. It is essential that you follow your dentist’s instructions post procedure. In addition to that, what to eat after tooth extraction is very important to consider.

One should refrain from ingesting anything other than liquids until the anesthesia wears off. For the next few days, the diet should be limited to soft foods. Teeth brushing should be avoided around the area of the extraction in the first two days after removal of the tooth. The normal dental hygiene practices should resume after two days.

Tooth extraction healing occurs during the recovery period following the procedure. The following are helpful ways to ensure the healing process goes according to plan:

  • Taking medication as prescribed. This includes painkillers and antibiotics for tooth extraction infection, if advised by your dentist or treating professional.
  • Bite firmly and gently on the gauze placed over the area to reduce bleeding. Apply ice pack immediately to minimize the swelling.
  • Try to limit an activity for one day after the extraction.
  • No rinsing or forceful spitting for one day after the extraction.
  • Avoid drinking from a straw for the first day.
  • Avoid smoking.
  • Keep your head slightly above the body when lying down. This helps stop the bleeding sooner.

Wisdom Tooth Pain Symptoms and Extraction

Symptoms of Wisdom Tooth Pain

Wisdom tooth pain is common for people who have wisdom teeth coming in. This pain can be felt at the back of one’s mouth, even behind the molars. Sometimes the incoming wisdom teeth can be noticeable as poking through the gums. This can be easily observed in the dentist’s mirror as well. Further indications of wisdom tooth pain include the surrounding area being red and tender to the touch in addition to becoming inflamed.

However it must be understood that there are many different types of pains and it’s not necessarily the case that any pain felt at the back of the mouth is wisdom tooth pain. A dental checkup is vital in event of any pain and the dentist can really get to the cause.

What to Expect During Wisdom Tooth Extraction Procedure?

It is important to be familiarised with the procedure before going through it. This can be done by holding a detailed talk with your dentist. It might be helpful to ask what type of anesthesia would be used. In the case of general anesthesia, it is advisable to take someone along to the appointment.

In some cases all four wisdom teeth are extracted in one appointment while in other cases repeated appointments are necessary. It is good practice to be aware of what course of treatment your dentist intends to adopt in your case. Moving on, it is also advisable to know beforehand the length of the procedure. Depending on your teeth, the process may take one hour or several.

Lastly it is necessary to be aware of any pre-surgical instructions that your dental practitioner may have for you. It is therefore highly recommended to have an in-depth discussion with them in a prior appointment.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any possible complications of tooth extractions?

Dry socket can occur when the blood clot formed naturally after extraction dislodges or fails to form. This can be remedied by a sedative dressing over the next few days. Other risks include excessive bleeding, infection (fever), nausea, swelling at the extraction area, shortness of breath and coughing. Your dentist or relevant healthcare professional who can deal with emergencies must be immediately contacted in these cases.

While there are some associated risks with the procedure of tooth extraction, it is important to realize that the benefits outweigh the risks when the extraction is recommended by a professional.

When Should You Get Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Wisdom tooth pain is not the only reason to refer to your dental practitioner. There are several other scenarios which necessitate wisdom tooth extraction. These include:

  • Not having enough room for wisdom teeth to grow
  • Experiencing gum pain associated with wisdom teeth
  • Formation of cysts on wisdom teeth
  • Crooked incoming wisdom teeth
  • While the removal of wisdom teeth is a procedure many people are not comfortable with, it is something that is absolutely necessary for the long term health of the patient. Wisdom tooth extraction cost is eventually worth it when it removes any future dental complications.
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