Describes surgery to remove a tooth that is damaged. Discusses why surgery is done and how well it works. Covers what to expect after surgery. Covers possible risks. Offers home care tips. Provides questions to ask your dentist about tooth extraction.
removing your tooth, your dentist will give you a
local anesthetic to numb the area where the tooth will
be removed. A stronger,
general anesthetic may be used, especially if several
or all of your teeth need to be removed. General anesthetic prevents pain in
the whole body and will make you sleep through the procedure.
After the tooth is removed, you may need stitches. You can gently bite
down on a cotton gauze pad placed over the wound to help stop the bleeding. The
removed tooth can be replaced with an implant, a denture, or a
bridge is a replacement for one or more (but not all)
of the teeth and may be permanent or removable.
What To Expect After Surgery
In most cases, the recovery period
lasts only a few days. The following will help speed recovery:
Take painkillers as prescribed by your dentist
or oral surgeon. Apply an ice or cold pack to the outside of your mouth to help relieve pain and swelling.
After 24 hours, rinse your mouth gently with
warm salt water several times a day to reduce swelling and relieve pain. Make
your own salt water by mixing
1 tsp (5 g) of salt in a
medium-sized glass [8 fl oz (240 mL)] of warm water.
Change gauze pads before they become
soaked with blood.
Relax after surgery. Physical activity may
Eat soft foods, such
as gelatin, pudding, or a thin soup. Gradually add solid foods to your diet as
Do not lie flat. This may prolong bleeding.
Prop up your head with pillows.
Avoid rubbing the area with your
Do not use sucking motions, such as when using a straw to
Continue to carefully brush your teeth and tongue.
After the tooth is removed, you may need stitches. Some stitches dissolve over time, and some have to be removed after a few days. Your dentist will tell you whether your stitches need to be removed.
Why It Is Done
Removing a tooth is necessary when
decay or an
abscessed tooth is so severe that no other treatment
will cure the infection.
How Well It Works
Removing the tooth can help keep
infection from spreading to other areas of your mouth.
Some dental work can cause bacteria in the
mouth to enter the bloodstream and cause infections in other parts of the body.
People who have a hard time fighting off infections may need to take
antibiotics before and after dental surgery. You may need to take antibiotics if you:
Have certain heart problems that make
it dangerous for you to get a heart infection called
Had recent major surgeries or
have man-made body parts, such as an artificial hip or heart
After an extraction, a blood clot forms in the tooth
socket. The clot protects the bone while the healing process takes place. If
that blood clot is loosened or dislodged, you may have a dry socket, in which the bone is
exposed. Dry sockets may last for several days and may cause severe pain that
sometimes includes ear pain.
What To Think About
A tooth extraction should be done
as soon as possible to avoid the spread of infection and more serious problems.
In cases in which a
root canal treatment might not save the tooth, your
dentist may recommend that the tooth be removed and a bridge or implant
Smoking or using spit tobacco delays healing and reduces your ability to fight infection in your gums. So to heal well after your surgery, it's best to stop all use of tobacco. If you do smoke, the sucking motion of inhaling may loosen or dislodge the blood clot that is important for healing. For more information, see the topic Quitting Smoking.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.