Tooth removal or dental extraction is when the tooth is removed from the mouth. There are several reasons to remove teeth. Some of these include: Dental caries or decay, periodontal disease or bone loss, insufficient spacing or crowding, pre-orthodontic treatment, partial eruption with inability to keep clean, tooth fracture, bone or tooth pathology.
While many teens and some adults get their wisdom teeth removed, there are other reasons why tooth extraction may be necessary in adulthood. You may benefit from tooth extraction if:
A tooth is too damaged or decayed to be repaired with a filling, crown, or other types of restoration.
Room is needed in the mouth for orthodontic treatment or dental prosthetics.
A tooth is impacted (stuck beneath the gum line) and poses a danger to your oral health. This is often true of wisdom teeth.
Gum disease has caused serious damage to the bones that support the teeth.
Types of Tooth Extractions
Your tooth extraction will either be simple or surgical, depending on whether your tooth is visible or impacted.
Simple Extractions are done when the teeth are erupted or are visible in the mouth. These are typically the easiest teeth to remove. A local anesthetic is always used and the area is tested prior to beginning to ensure that maximum comfort. During this procedure all the patient should feel is pushing or pressure.
Surgical Extractions are done when the teeth are either broken down or in a position where they are not fully visible in the mouth. These extractions are a little more difficult. Frequently, the tooth is split into multiple pieces to facilitate its removal. The area usually requires a suture to help with healing. We routinely use sutures that dissolve in about a week, so there is no need for removal. A local anesthetic is always used and some patients may choose laughing gas or a general anesthetic.
Recovery & Heal Time
It normally takes a few days to recover after a tooth extraction. The following steps help ensure that your recovery goes smoothly.
Apply an ice pack to your cheek directly after the procedure to reduce swelling. Use the ice pack for 10 minutes each time.
After the dentist places the gauze pad over the affected area, bite down to reduce bleeding and to aid in clot formation. Leave the gauze on for three to four hours, or until the pad is soaked with blood.
Take any medications as prescribed, including over-the-counter painkillers.
Rest and relax for the first 24 hours. Do not jump immediately into your regular routine the following day.
Don’t use a straw for the first week.
Don’t rinse for 24 hours after the tooth extraction, and spit only gently.
Use pillows to prop your head up when you lie down.
Brush and floss your teeth like normal, but avoid the extraction site.
The day after the procedure, eat soft foods, such as yogurt, pudding, and applesauce.
After 24 hours, add a half-teaspoon of salt to eight ounces of warm water to rinse out your mouth.
As you heal over the next few days, you can slowly reintroduce other foods into your diet.
If you are experiencing pain that isn’t going away after several days or signs of an infection —including fever, pain, and pus or drainage from the incision — call us as soon as possible.
Extractions with First Coast OMS
The Oral maxillofacial surgeons of First Coast OMS can professionally handle any aspect of oral surgery thanks to advanced medical and dental training, and years of experience. They perform different types of oral surgery, including dental extractions. Patients can have peace of mind knowing that a highly trained practitioner handles the extraction. After a tooth extraction, dental implants are also available as the best option for replacing a missing tooth.
Anesthesia and Sedation Options
The vast majority of patients have their wisdom removed right in our office. Improvements in surgical technique and sedative medications allow patients to have their impacted wisdom teeth removed comfortably and efficiently in a pleasant environment that is far less costly and intimidating than the hospital setting. There are several anesthetic options available to provide patients with the optimum in comfort during their surgery and minimize the postoperative side effects. You will have the opportunity to discuss these options, as well as your individual needs and concerns
with Dr. Skigen at the consultation appointment.
General Anesthesia | General Anesthesia affects the brain as well as the entire body. It is for patients who are extremely anxious or for procedures that can be uncomfortable. It is given thru an IV and combinations of medications provide the affects. With general anesthesia, you are completely unaware and wake up with the procedure being finished. Patients who choose this option are required to not eat or drink anything for eight hours prior and have a responsible adult to care for them and drive them home.
Local Anesthesia | Without a doubt every patient’s anxiety starts with “the shot”. Of course it is better to be numb than not during the procedure, so we make every effort to alleviate any discomfort. We start with a topical anesthetic that pre-numbs the injection site. We wait adequate time for the anesthetic to work and test the area before beginning any procedure. When the lower jaw is anesthetized the patient should feel tingling or numbness in the lower lip. When the upper jaw is anesthetized, the upper lip or nose might feel numb or tingling.
Learn more about our Anesthesia and Sedation Options!
Frequently asked questions
What is the Recovery Period or Downtime Like?
Each patient’s downtime and recovery period is determined by the type of procedure performed, as well as the patient’s medical history. For simple extractions, patients have little downtime, averaging 24-48 hours to allow the clot in the socket to do its job in the healing process. For surgical removals, downtime is longer, and may last up to a full week, depending on the type of surgery and tooth removed. Overall, a proper recovery process and following instructions are both required to allow gums to properly heal.
How long does it take for a hole to close after a tooth extraction?
The wound usually closes in about two weeks after a tooth extraction, but it takes three to six months for the bone and soft tissue to be restructured. Such complications as infection or dry socket may prolong the healing process.
How do you get food out of an extraction site?
If food does get into extraction site, flush gently with warm salt water – the blood clot tends to feel like something is stuck so don't try clean it out. If you have an increase in pain, swelling, or any concerns regarding the healing process contact us immediately.
How long does it take for a tooth to be pulled out?
If you're just having one tooth extracted, the entire process can be completed in 20-40 minutes. However, if you're having multiple teeth extracted, expect to spend a little more time in our office. Each additional tooth will take another 3-15 minutes of appointment time, depending on its location.
Can you drive after getting a tooth pulled?
You won't need a sick note from your doctor for this. You can drive immediately after the procedure if local anaesthetic was used, but you should avoid driving for at least 24 hours if a sedative was used, or 48 hours if the procedure was carried out under general anaesthetic.
Can you talk after having a tooth pulled?
Limit talking. The more you talk, the more your tongue and associated muscles move disturbing the clots. Vigorous mouth rinsing or touching the wound area following surgery should be avoided. This may initiate bleeding by causing the blood clot that has formed to become dislodged.
What happens to the blood clot after a tooth extraction?
After tooth extraction, a blood clot usually forms at the site to heal and protect it. With dry socket, that clot either dislodges, dissolves too early, or it never formed in the first place. So, dry socket leaves the bone, tissue, and nerve endings exposed.
What are the first signs of a dry socket?
Severe pain within a few days after having a tooth removed.
Empty space at extraction site due to partial or total loss of the blood clot.
Visible bone within the empty socket.
Pain radiating from the socket to the eye, ear, temple or neck.
Bad breath or unpleasant taste.
How common is dry socket?
The occurrence of dry socket is relatively rare, occurring in about 2% of tooth extractions. However, that percentage rises to at least 20% when it involves the removal of mandibular impacted third molars (lower wisdom teeth).