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Tooth Extractions – Everything You Need To Know

Excerpt: A lot of patients think dental extractions will be painful and a tough experience to go through. But it's generally...
Table of Contents

What Are Tooth Exractions?

Tooth extractions happen when a dentist needs to extract a tooth due to concerns that it may cause more harm if it is left in the mouth. A patient may also need a tooth extraction if they don't have the coverage for a dental procedure like a root canal.

A lot of patients think dental extractions will be painful and a tough experience to go through. But it’s generally one of the simplest procedures a dentist can do. There’s very little pain, if none at all, almost no discomfort, and it’s over quickly.

What is a tooth extraction – who needs them?

A tooth extraction is simply getting one or more teeth pulled. Sometimes teeth need to be manually pulled for a variety of reasons, such as:
  • Dental cavities
  • Gum disease
  • Dental infections
  • Trauma or injury to the tooth or surrounding bone
  • Wisdom teeth complications
  • Preparation for a dental prosthesis
  • Preparation for dental braces, if the teeth are very crowded
  • Baby teeth not falling out at the proper age
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Surgical Vs. Non-Surgical Tooth Extraction

A surgical extraction is more invasive than non-surgical extraction. A surgical extraction is required when the tooth hasn’t erupted from the gum line yet. Non-surgical extractions are generally much more simple, all they require is pulling the tooth. Most dentists should be able to perform a non-surgical extraction, but depending on its complexity, you may need an oral surgeon.
The teeth that most often require surgical removal are wisdom teeth. These teeth often grow in impact and may be a danger to other teeth.
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How do I prepare for a Tooth extraction?

Usually, your dentist or oral surgeon will consult with you to advise you on the extraction. They will want to know about your medical history, as well as any medication you may be currently on. 

Depending on the medication, you may need to stop taking it prior to the extraction, but the dentist will advise you on this. 
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If I’m taking blood thinners should I stop?

Blood thinners are often taken to stop blood clots from forming in vessels, however, during surgery blood clots are needed to stop the bleeding. If you are taking blood thinners, please inform your general dentist or oral surgeon in the initial discussion about the tooth extraction, they will advise you what to do.


A dental surgeon will manage the bleeding on the extraction site by:


  • Using medications on the gums
  • Using gauze on the extraction site
  • Stitching the extraction site close
Gauze may also be recommended after the procedure as well to help curb the bleeding, light pressure should be applied to the gauze to increase its effectiveness.
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Will I be given antibiotics for my dental extraction?

Some situations may require you to be prescribed antibiotics before dental extractions. Antibiotics may be used to:


  • Cure an infection
  • Prevent swelling 
  • Cure a Fever 
  • Heal any localized swelling
If your toothache does not show any signs of swelling, you may not need any antibiotics, but if your dentist or oral surgeon suggests you take them, you should follow their advice. 
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Will I Need sedation for a Tooth extraction?

For most patients, sedation will be overkill. Sedation may be useful if the patient has any anxiety over the dentist, or if you are getting wisdom teeth extracted, you may need sedation. The majority of patients will only need local anesthesia, this will numb the extraction point, however, the patient will remain fully conscious. 

What Types Of Sedation Do We Use?

If you do require sedation, the general dentist or oral surgeon may offer you one of these choices depending on the situation.

Nitrous Oxide  

Nitrous Oxide is a very safe form of light sedation is also known as ‘laughing gas’. This method can relieve anxiety and increase the feeling of relaxation during the procedure. The patient is still completely awake and conscious. After the sedation is terminated, the effects of nitrous oxide do not last very long (several minutes at most). This unique characteristic of nitrous oxide use allows the patient to return to functioning normally soon after the appointment ends.

Oral Sedation

Oral Sedation is another way to achieve a sedation effect for dental procedures is by taking oral sedation pills that are prescribed to you by the dentist. During the procedure, the dentist will monitor the patient’s vital signs. Oral sedation can be combined with nitrous oxide to have an additive effect. The patient is still conscious and breathing on their own.

Intravenous (IV) Sedation

This method is also considered another form of conscious sedation, however, the patient’s awareness of the procedure is minimal, and typically they cannot remember the procedure itself. Vital signs are monitored closely by a designated and trained clinical team member.
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What is the tooth extraction procedure?

The steps for a dental extraction are as follows:


  • An x-ray will be taken and analyzed
  • A local anesthetics or sedation drug will be administered 
  • If the gum is covering the tooth, then it will be removed to expose the tooth
  • If the tooth is exposed, the dentist will remove it one piece or many if necessary 
Minimal, if no pain at all should be felt during the operation. If you do feel anything more than minor discomfort caused from the pressure you should alert your dentist or surgeon right away. 
After the extraction is completed, gauze will be used to stop any bleeding from the site. Stitches may also be needed depending on how invasive the surgery was.
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Tooth Extractions – Aftercare Tips

Changing the dental gauze

The dentist will use a thick layer of gauze to stop the bleeding after the initial extraction.

Controlling Pain

If you had the local anesthetic, the numbness should only last for a few hours after it is administered, if it persists, contact your dentist.

Controlling swelling

You may experience swelling, if you do you can use a cold compress like a bag of frozen pees. or crushed ice to lessen the swelling.
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Tooth Extraction Aftercare

You should follow your dentist’s instructions, and take the prescribed medications.


  1. 1 hour after surgery – Maintain pressure on the gauze.
  2. After 1 hour – Wet the area and remove the gauze.
  3. 24 hours after surgery – Avoid spitting, rinsing, or sucking on a straw. This may damage the blood clot. If you have any blood in your mouth from the surgery, gently spit it out, or swallow it, if you are able. Avoid changing the gauze as you may damage the blood clot. Do not engage in strenuous activity and stay well-rested.
  4. After the first 24-48 hours – Gently rinse your mouth with saltwater. This will promote faster healing and help stave off infection.
  5. 48 hours after surgery – Avoid smoking.

For up to 1 or 2 weeks after surgery follows these tips to promote faster healing:


  • Stick to softer foods in your diet.
  • Wash your mouth with salt water every 3 or 4 hours (or after every meal).
  • Avoid brushing the extraction site directly. 
  • Stitches should be dissolved by now, or your dentist will need to remove them.

Some swelling and bruising should be expected as this is normal.

Frequently asked Questions

You dentist will tell you when you should call based on the tooth being extracted, and what pertains to that tooth.

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