Tooth Extraction: Procedure

Tooth Extraction

A tooth extraction is one of the most common procedures performed in our oral surgery clinic. Whether you’re having your wisdom teeth or one of your other molars, incisors or canines removed, the procedure will be done correctly and without pain.

The removal or extraction of a tooth is the oldest form of dental treatment. Before antibiotic therapy, tooth extractions actually saved people’s lives. While dentists try to save teeth using fillings, crowns and root canals, even now, it’s sometimes necessary to remove a tooth due to infection, impaction, decay or damage.

Before the Procedure

X-rays will be taken to determine the exact location of the tooth that needs to be removed. It helps determine the tooth’s location relative to nerves, sinuses and your other teeth. An x-ray can also determine if any infection is present. If so, your surgeon may ask you to take antibiotics for several days before and after the extraction. Do not smoke on the day of the procedure or you risk getting a painful dry socket.

Types of Extractions

Simple extraction: Performed when the tooth can be seen your mouth. Otherwise, it’s not hidden below the gum line. After your mouth is numbed with a local anesthetic, one of our oral surgeons will loosen the tooth with an instrument called an elevator. Then, forceps are used to remove the tooth from the socket. You will feel some pressure, but should feel no pinching or pain. Be sure to tell the surgeon if you do.

Surgical extraction: More complex, this procedure is required when the tooth has broken at the gum line or has not erupted into your mouth as often seen with wisdom teeth. Many times, intravenous drugs are used for surgical extractions since the procedure takes longer and is more involved than a simple extraction. After you’re asleep, a small incision will be made in your gum, and the surgeon will remove the broken or impacted tooth.

After the Procedure

For the first hour following the extraction, bite down firmly on the gauze that’s covering the extraction sites. Also, it is important to change the gauze every 15-20 minutes to control bleeding. If bleeding persists after one hour, place new gauze over the surgical site and bite down to apply pressure for another 30-60 minutes.

After you get home, place ice packs on your cheek or jaw where the extraction occurred. Apply firm pressure with the ice pack for 20 minutes, then take it off for 20 minutes and repeat the process. It is recommended that you begin a liquid diet and to take pain medication and/or antibiotics, if prescribed. Eat soft foods as you can tolerate them, and start your regular oral hygiene routine as soon as possible. However, don’t brush vigorously or poke anything in the extraction site. Do not drink through a straw, smoke or spit since these actions will increase bleeding.

If you had a surgical extraction, you may have stitches in your mouth.These will dissolve on their own within a week or two. Using a warm salt water rinse beginning 24 hours after the procedure will help the stitches to dissolve.

Learn more about at-home care here, or contact our office if you experience heavy bleeding or pain that radiates through your jaw, toward your ear.