Common Questions About Tooth Extractions



A tooth extraction is a dental treatment that many people experience at some point in their lives, so it pays to be prepared. Read below for the answers to some common questions about tooth extractions.


What are some reasons a tooth must be removed?

Our goal is to help you keep your natural teeth. However, when a tooth becomes so severely damaged, by decay or injury, that it can’t be repaired, little can be done to avoid having it pulled. There are other instances such as periodontal and gum disease, trauma, impacted wisdom teeth, or tooth overcrowding, where having a tooth pulled is in your best interest.


How do I know if I need an extraction? 

A horrendous toothache is usually a pretty good indication that there’s a serious issue going on with your tooth. However, just because you have some pain in the tooth, it does not mean you need an extraction. The only way to know for sure if a tooth extraction is necessary is by having x-rays and a visual exam of your teeth.

Dr. Tan will do everything he can to save your teeth and maintain your full smile. This could include undergoing a root canal treatment, followed by a filling or dental crown. However, in cases of injury, infection, or disease, an extraction may be necessary to preserve your overall oral health.


What can I expect during a tooth extraction?

During your extraction, Dr. Tan will administer a local anesthetic to numb the tooth and surrounding area. For your comfort, we also offer nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and oral sedation to make your experience as relaxing and pain-free as possible. Dr. Tan will then gently and efficiently remove the tooth and clean out the socket. The extraction site will be packed with gauze to help stop the bleeding and allow a blood clot to form in the now-empty socket. Be sure to follow Dr. Tan’s post-operative care instructions to ensure a smooth recovery.


Why would I need to have my wisdom teeth removed?

Most people have wisdom teeth, which typically come in during their teens or twenties. While many patients experience no issues when their wisdom teeth erupt, in many instances, patients don’t have enough room in their mouths for their wisdom teeth to completely break through their gums and they become “stuck” underneath other teeth. This only allows wisdom teeth to partially breakthrough, leaving a small space for decay to set in that can infect the tooth and teeth in surrounding areas. This is often referred to as impacted wisdom teeth. Some people develop impacted wisdom teeth that may need to be extracted if they are decayed, infected, or causing pain. 


Why am I asked about my medical history?

When it comes to information about your health there’s no such thing as too much information and as your dental care provider, we want to provide appropriate and safe treatment for you. This includes modifying your dental treatment based on your medical conditions (including pregnancy) and medications you may be taking. Knowing as much as possible about your overall health will only help our team help give you the best dental care possible.


How much will it cost?

At Spring Complete Care Dentistry, we strive to provide gentle, patient-focused care at affordable prices. The cost of a tooth extraction can vary, depending on a variety of factors, including how many teeth, the type of tooth (e.g. molar, incisor, wisdom tooth), and it’s condition (if the tooth is broken, fractured or impacted), the extent of the work you need (simple or surgical extraction). All this can only be determined by having a dental exam.

After your exam, we will present you with a treatment plan, sometimes with multiple treatment options. We make sure you are well-informed of the cost of each of the treatment options before we ever perform a treatment. If you have dental insurance, we will be happy to look over what benefits are available to you, and what treatments your insurance plan may cover. You can rest easy knowing that Spring Complete Dental Care is an affordable option for your family. With or without insurance, we will give you the care you need without breaking your family’s budget.


Can I go back to work or school the day after my tooth is extracted?

No two mouths are alike and the answer to this question can really vary from patient to patient and often depends on the type of extraction. Many patients heal quickly and can resume most of their normal routines within a few days. However, when multiple teeth or wisdom teeth are extracted, recovery may be a bit longer. 


What can I eat after the tooth is extracted?

You will be limited to soft foods for a few days while your mouth is tender and healing. You can add firmer foods as you feel more comfortable. It may sound logical to use a straw for the first few days following your procedure, but don’t, straws can interfere with healing. Also, stay away from carbonated beverages, and hot foods and drinks while your mouth is in the early stages of healing.


Can I drive home?

Whether or not you can drive yourself home after an extraction depends on the type of treatment you received. In general, if you are having a simple tooth extraction, you are awake during the entire procedure. The only area affected is the tooth and the area around it which is injected with a local anesthetic. For more complex extractions, like having wisdom teeth removed or multiple teeth pulled, or if you’re scheduled to undergo sedation, it’s helpful to have someone on hand to drive you to your appointment and back home.


How do I clean my mouth after a tooth is removed?

Proper oral hygiene helps to prevent infection, promotes faster recovery, and also aids the tooth socket in healing as quickly as possible. The day following your procedure, you can begin gently rinsing your mouth after meals with a warm saltwater solution to keep bits of food out of the extraction site.

Brushing your teeth is okay. Carefully clean the teeth next to your healing tooth socket. Initial healing takes up to two weeks, so be extremely gentle when brushing near the area of extraction for a few weeks following your procedure.


What should I worry about?

We need you to call our office if you experience any signs of infection, this includes fever, pain, and drainage from the site of the incision. Also, call us if the pain isn’t decreasing after a few days.

If you have any worries, questions, or are experiencing any symptoms not mentioned that you are concerned about, please contact our office so that we may address your concerns.

Read More About Dental Extractions:

Think You Might Need A Tooth Extraction? Start Here.

Extraction Aftercare