Need a tooth pulled?

Permanent teeth were meant to last a lifetime, but sometimes a tooth extraction may be necessary. Our oral surgeons may recommend a tooth extraction for the following reasons:

  • The tooth has been badly damaged as the result of trauma or decay.
  • A crowded mouth. If your jaw is too small to properly support all of your teeth, you may need a tooth extraction for orthodontic reasons.
  • A tooth is impacted and causing eruption issues.
  • A tooth is severely infected as the result of tooth decay. The damage may extend to the pulp, the area that contains nerves and blood vessels, causing significant pain.
  • There is a risk of infection caused by periodontal disease—an infection of the connective tissues and underlying bones that support your teeth.

Tooth Extraction Procedure

During preparation, our oral surgeons will take an X-ray of the area to form a precise treatment plan. If you are having your wisdom teeth removed, this may include a panoramic x-ray, one that details all your teeth at once.

There are two types of extraction:

  • Simple extraction — performed on a tooth that is visible above the gumline. We loosen the tooth using an instrument called an elevator, and then remove it using forceps. Simple extractions do not require the expertise of an oral surgeon.
  • Surgical extraction — performed on a tooth that has broken off, or not yet erupted above the gumline. During the procedure, the oral surgeon makes a small incision into the gum tissue and removes the tooth. In some cases, it may be necessary to break the tooth into pieces, or remove some of the supportive bone.

Most simple extractions only require the use of local anesthetic. For a surgical extraction, you may request oral conscious sedation, IV sedation, nitrous oxide, or general anesthesia to provide a deeper state of relaxation.

Once the tooth has been removed, a blood clot usually forms in the socket. We may pack a gauze pad into the socket to help stop the bleeding. A cut in the mouth tends to bleed more than a cut on the skin because it is more difficult to dry out.

In certain situations, we may recommend socket preservation using bone graft material. This is the case if you are receiving a dental implant.

After a Tooth Extraction

The oral surgeon will give you a detailed set of instructions to minimize post-operative complications. Be sure to voice any questions or concerns before you leave the office.

Like any oral surgery, you can expect some discomfort. We may recommend the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to decrease the pain. Be sure to take the recommended dose for at least three days after surgery. Depending on the level of discomfort and how difficult it was to remove the tooth, we may prescribe pain medication for the first few days.

Most pain will subside in a couple of days. We recommend eating soft and cool foods during this time. To keep the area clean, you should gently rinse with warm salt water 24 hours after the surgery.

If a blood clot does not properly form in the hole, it can cause a problem called dry socket. If you are experiencing severe pain, contact us immediately.