Sometimes the only way to fix a damaged tooth is to remove it. This can either be the cause of a severe infection in which the structural integrity has been compromised or by blunt force trauma (e.g. falls, blows to the face). The extraction process is pretty straightforward and can typically be completed in one session at your dentist’s office, though certain cases may require the operation to be completed by an oral surgeon that specializes in this practice.

What Happens When You Need an Extraction?

The first step is to numb the region; the dentist will apply a local anesthetic to the extraction site, which may or may not be followed by a generalized anesthetic depending on the number of teeth being removed and the circumstances of the particular removal. This is typically the case when multiple teeth are to be extracted.

After the process is complete, dissolving stitches will be installed to suture the wound and facilitate the healing process. You will likely be advised to keep a cotton pad in your mouth until the bleeding has stopped. After the extraction site has fully healed, your dentist will fill the gap with an implant, denture or bridge (used to replace two or more teeth). Each of these has distinct pros and cons, so be sure to ask your dentist what they recommend.

After the Procedure

  • Take the painkillers your doctor prescribes – these will ease the pain (which may be severe at times).
  • Drink diluted salt water to reduce the swelling – your gum tissue will be sore and swollen for a few days after the operation, but rinsing with salt water will help with this as well as with the pain.
  • Do not let gauze pads fill with blood prior to swapping – to ensure maximum absorption; replace them with new before they are soaking.
  • Avoid hard foods for about a week – keep solids to a minimum and start out with gentle food such as pudding, jello and soup. Rough items could aggravate the extraction site and lead to tissue tearing.