Hearing your dentist utter the words “tooth extraction” may give you a jolt of fear, but rest assured, they’re a common and sometimes wholly necessary aspect of dental care.
Performed by a dentist, oral surgeon, or periodontist, tooth extractions are exactly as their name suggests: They’re the complete removal of one or more of your teeth from their socket in your jawbone.
But there’s more than one type of tooth extraction—and more than one reason for needing one. Read on as we get to the root of both of these issues.
What Are The Different Types of Tooth Extractions?
Tooth extractions fall into one of two categories, typically based on how accessible the natural tooth is and the cause for the procedure:1
- Simple extractions – In the simplest terms, simple dental extractions are the straightforward removal of easily accessible teeth. This entails numbing the tissue surrounding the tooth that must be removed—usually with local anesthesia—and removing the tooth with an elevator and dental forceps.
- Surgical extraction – A surgical extraction is more complicated, as it often involves removing teeth that are more difficult to access—whether located toward the back of your mouth or in relation to your gum line. As a result, tiny incisions are made on your gum line to help the oral surgeon or dentist loosen and remove the tooth. Patients are usually given local or general anesthesia to help numb the pain, with the latter frequently used during a lengthy, more intricate surgical extraction procedure.
What Are The Most Common Reasons for a Tooth Extraction?
The reasons for tooth extraction run the gamut of oral health conditions but are usually conducted to address one of the following conditions:2
- Severely unhealthy gums and tooth decay that cannot be helped by a filling or root canal
- Dental trauma or injuries, such as from a fall, sports mishap, or car accident
- Broken tooth
- Wisdom teeth
- Advanced gum disease
- A fractured or broken tooth
- Crowded teeth
- Extra teeth
In general, tooth extractions can eliminate the possibility of harmful bacteria and enhance your overall oral health. Indeed, tooth extractions may offer you immediate, significant relief—particularly for teeth that have become decayed and may be causing you persistent, even agonizing pain.
How Should I Prepare Myself For a Tooth Extraction?
The better prepared you are for your tooth removal, the smoother your recovery will likely be. Remember to prepare for these tooth extraction aftercare steps before arriving for your appointment:
- Fill your prescriptions in advance – Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics to ward off or treat an infection, as well as a painkiller to help alleviate the throbbing that often ensues after a dental extraction procedure. If possible, fill out these scripts one to three days before your operation so you can go home immediately after your appointment.
- Arrange for a ride – You may be perfectly fine to drive after a simple surgical extraction and the use of local anesthesia, but, to be safe, it may be best to have a friend, family member, or Uber driver get you home. Your dentist or oral surgeon may insist you have a ride home after a surgical procedure and the use of general anesthesia.
- Stock your bathroom and kitchen pantries – Wondering what to eat after tooth extraction? There are several things you’ll need at the ready after your procedure: Soft foods, such as yogurt and oatmeal, to avoid chewing (which can disrupt and delay your healing process); sterile gauze and antibacterial mouthwash to keep the wound site clean; and ice packs (if you wish) to assist with pain relief.
How Long Does It Take to Heal From A Tooth Extraction?
Every dental situation is unique. That said, the recovery time for a tooth extraction procedure usually follows the same timeline:3
- First 24 hours – You may feel the severity of your pain within the first 24 hours after your procedure; you might also experience mild bleeding. This isn’t a cause for concern unless the bleeding worsens and/or it’s accompanied by swelling, a fever, nausea, and vomiting, in which case you should contact your dentist immediately.
- 48 hours-72 hours – Your pain should start to subside two to three days after your dental extraction.
- 10-14 days – Within 10 days to two weeks, you may see a white substance begin forming over the wound site. This “granulation tissue” is part of the healing process and will shield the area until new bone begins to develop. You should also try to keep an open space on your calendar, as your dentists may schedule a follow-up appointment once your recovery is underway to assess the procedure’s effectiveness and healing.
Achieve Oral Health with West Coast Dental
Dental extractions are standard procedures that can provide significant relief—not only from oral aches and pains in the immediate but also for your long-term dental and overall health.
West Coast Dental & Orthodontics helps take the angst out of the process. Each of our state-of-the-art facilities is equipped with friendly, compassionate, and knowledgeable staff members who will be happy to assist you with every step of your dental journey. From general dentistry to multi-specialty care, we provide our patients with undivided attention and top-of-the-line services.
Whether you need a tooth extraction, a cleaning, a dental bridge—or everything in between—we can help you obtain the healthy, gorgeous smile of your dreams.
- Colgate. Tooth extractions: what you need to know. https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/tooth-removal/tooth-extraction
- Cleveland Clinic. Tooth extraction: procedure, aftercare & recovery. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/22120-tooth-extraction
- Colgate. Tooth extraction healing time: what’s normal? https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/tooth-removal/tooth-extraction-healing-time-whats-normal