While it sounds complicated, extracting a tooth is just another way of saying removing a tooth or having a tooth pulled. There are many reasons why someone may need a tooth removed, which may include:
- Tooth Disease
- Tooth Decay
- Excessive Crowding
- Severe Infection
There are both simple and surgical extractions; your dentist will examine you carefully and explain your needs as well as the procedure beforehand. Depending on the type of extraction, both dentists and oral surgeons can extract a tooth. Simple extractions involve teeth that are visible in the mouth and surgical involves removing teeth that are not visible.
The procedure itself is fairly straightforward. During an extraction, your dental care professional will numb the area first. If necessary, an incision will be made along the gumline where the tooth is located. While still numb, the tooth will be loosened and removed with dental tools. The tooth can also be divided into sections to remove more easily, then cleaned and closed to promote healing.
Plan on an appointment time that takes anywhere from 20-60 minutes (longer if multiple teeth need to be removed). There may also be a dental implant placed immediately to prevent bone absorption. Individual treatments and recoveries may vary, but it can take up to two weeks to fully heal from the procedure and you’ll be given detailed care instructions from your dentist.
For a speedy recovery, try to avoid things that may prevent healthy healing. This includes no smoking, following a special diet from your dentist and avoiding drinking through a straw for the first day or two. Although you can brush and floss normally, take extra care not to clean next to the tooth removal site.
In most cases, a small amount of blood will be normal. However, in a small percentage of patients (3-4%) dry socket (where blood clot fails to form) may occur. Dry sockets can be painful and will need to be treated as soon as possible. It’s important to contact your dentist with any questions and for a follow up appointment.
If you have a question, we recommend scheduling a visit with your dentist. To find one near you, click here.