Tooth extraction is the removal of a tooth from its socket in the bone. If a tooth has been broken or damaged by decay, a filling, crown or other option may be used to fix it. But in some cases there’s too much damage for the tooth to be repaired. Then the tooth may be extracted.

Other reasons for tooth extraction

  • Extra teeth that block other teeth from coming in.
  • When baby teeth don’t fall out in time to allow the permanent teeth to come in.
  • Patients in need of braces may need teeth extracted to create room for the teeth that are being moved into place.

How is extraction done?

Tooth extraction can be performed with local anesthesia if the tooth is exposed and appears to be easily removable in one piece. The oral surgeon uses an instrument called an elevator to loosen the tooth; widen the space in the underlying bone; and release the tiny elastic fibers that attach the tooth to the bone. Once the tooth is dislocated from the bone, it can be lifted and removed with forceps. Oral surgeons are specialists who are trained to administer nitrous oxide (laughing gas), an intravenous sedative, or a general anesthetic to relieve pain. Extracting a tooth with curved roots typically requires cutting through gum tissue to expose the tooth. It may also require removing portions of bone to free the tooth. Some teeth must be cut and removed in sections. The extraction site may or may not require one or more stitches (sutures) to close the incision.

How long does it take to recover after a tooth extraction?

It is recommended that you refrain from any strenuous activities for 12 to 24 hours after a tooth extraction to allow the body to recover from the procedure.

You will be able to remove the gauze from your mouth a few hours after the dental extraction. Smoking, vigorous brushing and rinsing and using straws to drink are discouraged until after 48 hours because they hinder healing and may cause the wound to open.