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  • Writer's pictureLaurenWallace

Tooth Extractions


origional article and page source here.

If a tooth has been broken or damaged by decay, your dentist will try to fix it with a filling, crown or other dental treatment. But when there's too much damage for the tooth to be repaired, the tooth may need to be extracted — or removed — from its socket in the bone.

Beyond damage and decay, here are some other common reasons for tooth removal:

Some people have extra teeth that block other teeth from coming in.

Sometimes baby teeth don't fall out in time to allow the permanent teeth to come in.

People getting braces may need teeth extracted to create room for the teeth that are being moved into place.

People receiving radiation to the head and neck may need to have teeth in the field of radiation extracted.

People receiving cancer drugs may develop infected teeth because these drugs weaken the immune system. Infected teeth may need to be extracted.

Wisdom teeth, also called third molars, are often extracted either before or after they erupt in the mouth. They commonly come in during the late teens or early 20’s. They need to be removed if they are decayed, infected, or if there is not enough room in the mouth.


There are two types of extractions:

A simple extraction

This is performed on a tooth that can be seen in the mouth. General dentists commonly do simple extractions. In a simple extraction, the dentist loosens the tooth with an instrument called an elevator. Then the dentist uses an instrument called forceps to remove the tooth.

A surgical extraction

This is a more complex procedure, which is used if a tooth may have broken off at the gum line or has not erupted in the mouth. Oral maxillofacial surgeons typically perform this procedure, though general dentists can also perform them. The doctor makes a small incision (cut) into your gum to surgically remove the broken tooth or impacted wisdom tooth. It may be necessary to remove some of the bone around the tooth or to cut the tooth in half in order to extract it.

Most simple extractions can be done using just an injection (a local anesthetic); you may or may not receive drugs to help you relax. For a surgical extraction, you will receive a local anesthetic, and you may also have anesthesia through a vein (intravenous). Some people — such as patients with specific medical or behavioral conditions and young children — may need general anesthesia.

If you are receiving conscious sedation, you may be given steroids, as well as other medicines in your intravenous sedation line. The steroids help to reduce pain and swelling after the procedure.

During a tooth extraction, you can expect to feel pressure, but no pain. If you feel any pain or pinching, tell your dentist.


Having a tooth taken out is a surgical procedure. You can expect some mild discomfort even after simple extractions. Research has shown that taking drugs that include ibuprofen, such as Advil, Motrin and others, can greatly decrease pain after a tooth extraction. Take the dose your doctor recommends, 3 to 4 times a day. Take the first pills before the local anesthesia wears off, and continue taking the mediations for 3-4 days following or as your dentist has recommended.

Surgical extractions generally cause more pain after the procedure than simple extractions. The level of discomfort and how long it lasts will depend on how difficult it was to remove the tooth. Your dentist may prescribe pain medicine for a few days. Most pain disappears after a couple of days.

Here are a few tips to help minimize your discomfort and speed recovery:

You can put ice packs on your face to reduce swelling. Typically, they are left on for 20 minutes at a time and removed for 20 minutes. If your jaw is sore and stiff after the swelling goes away, try warm compresses.

Eat soft and cool foods for a few days.

A gentle rinse with warm salt water, started 24 hours after the surgery, can help to keep the area clean. Use one-half teaspoon of salt in a cup of water. Most swelling and bleeding ends within a day or two after the surgery. Complete healing takes at least two weeks.

You should not smoke, use a straw or spit after surgery. These actions can pull the blood clot out of the hole where the tooth was.

If you need stitches, your doctor may use the kind that dissolves on their own. This usually takes one to two weeks. Rinsing with warm salt water will help the stitches to dissolve. Some stitches need to be removed by the dentist or surgeon.

Call your dentist or oral surgeon if:

The swelling gets worse, instead of better.

You have fever, chills or redness.

You have trouble swallowing.

You have uncontrolled bleeding in the area.

The area continues to ooze or bleed after the first 24 hours.

Your tongue, chin or lip feels numb more than 3 to 4 hours after the procedure.

The extraction site becomes very painful -- This may be a sign that you have developed a dry socket.

Dry Socket Prevention

by Jae Curtis Via

origional article and page source here.

There are a number of reasons why your dentist might suggest a tooth extraction, from incoming wisdom teeth to a damaged tooth or even overcrowding. The extraction should be uneventful, and if you follow a few dry socket prevention tips, your recovery will be just as smooth.

What Is a Dry Socket?

When your dentist removes a tooth, your body creates a blood clot to protect the newly exposed bone and nerves. If that clot is disturbed, it leaves the nerves and bones vulnerable to bacterial contamination and pain. Not only does this slow your recovery process, but it can leave you in extreme discomfort, with pain radiating from your mouth and throughout your face. According to the American Dental Association, your dentist can apply new dressings to help improve clotting and speed healing, but it's best to practice dry socket prevention to avoid the issue altogether.

How to Prevent Dry Socket

Dry socket prevention isn't too complex; as long as you care for the extraction site properly, you'll soon be back to normal. Here's how to keep your extraction site clean and healthy during the recovery process:

Food and drink. You probably won't feel like eating right after your extraction, but when you do start to get hungry, stick to soft foods and chew on the side of your mouth opposite to the extraction site. Feel free to drink plenty of water, but don't drink sugary, caffeinated or alcoholic beverages and don't use straws. The suction could dislodge the blood clot. Avoid straws for at least a week or for as long as your oral surgeon or dentist recommends.Tobacco use. Tobacco use is one of the most common causes of dry socket. The Mayo Clinic warns that smoking or chewing tobacco within 48 hours of surgery slows healing and can have painful repercussions. Smoking introduces bacteria into the site, while chewing tobacco disturbs the healing clot.

Hygiene. Wait at least 24 hours before you clean the extraction area to allow the clot to form and begin protecting the extraction site. You can gently brush your other teeth and your tongue instead. After the first day, gently rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash to get rid of germs that could infect your extraction site.

Rest. Plan to take some time to rest after your tooth extraction. You'll likely need some time for the effects of anesthesia to wear off and you may feel groggy or tired. Avoid playing sports or participating in physical activities that could disturb your mouth (think contact sports). It may take a few days for you to get back to your regular activities, but you may still feel some breakthrough pain and be exhausted. Take ibuprofen or acetaminophen and contact your dentist if the pain worsens, radiates through your face, or is accompanied by swelling, redness and fever.

A tooth extraction can be nerve-racking, but as long as you follow your oral surgeon's or dentist's instructions, your recovery should be uneventful. Dry socket can disrupt your healing process, so make sure that you're conscious of your eating, drinking and hygiene habits in the days following your extraction, and you can avoid the issue altogether.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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