This is a procedure to remove a tooth.
Surgical Removal of a Tooth
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While dental techniques can save many teeth, a tooth may need to be removed if it:
Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your dentist will review potential problems, like:
Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
Be sure to discuss these risks with your dentist before the procedure.
Your dentist will likely:
Depending on the procedure, your dentist will choose:
If the tooth is impacted (buried in the gum), the overlying gum tissue will be opened to expose the tooth. Using forceps, the dentist will grasp the tooth and gently rock it back and forth. This action will loosen the tooth and break the ligaments that hold the tooth in place. The tooth will be pulled, and a blood clot will form in the empty socket. A gauze pad will be packed into the socket. In some cases, a few stitches will be placed to close the gum edges.
You will need to bite firmly but gently on the gauze pad. This will reduce bleeding and permit a clot to form in the tooth socket. If rapid bleeding continues, replace with a fresh pad every 20-30 minutes. Otherwise, leave the pad in place for 3-4 hours.
It often takes about 20 minutes, but may take longer for impacted teeth.
You will feel pain in your jaw. You may be given pain medication. A complication called dry socket may occur. A dry socket forms when a blood clot does not form in the tooth socket, leaving the bone in the jaw exposed to air and food. A dry socket takes 2-3 weeks to heal and is painful during the healing process.
It will take 1-2 weeks for the site to heal. New bone and gum tissue will grow into the gap where the tooth was. Do not smoke. Not smoking will speed the healing process. Brush and floss your other teeth as normal to prevent infection where the tooth was taken out. Follow your dentist's instructions.
Having a missing tooth can lead to shifting teeth, improper bite, or difficulty chewing. Your dentist may attempt to restore the area with an implant, fixed bridge, or denture.
Call your dentist if any of the following occur:
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
Mouth Healthy—American Dental Association
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
Canadian Dental Association
Dental Hygiene Canada
Extractions. Mouth Healthy—American Dental Association website. Available at: https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/e/extractions. Accessed March 13, 2018.
Tooth decay. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research website. Available at: https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/health-info/tooth-decay. Accessed March 13, 2018.
Last reviewed March 2018 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Marcie L. Sidman, MD
Last Updated: 3/13/2018