When and Why a Tooth Extraction is Necessary (and What to Expect During and After)

| 6 min read

Hearing that you need a tooth extraction can cause a variety of emotions. But once you understand when and why a tooth extraction is necessary you could be more likely to accept the reality.

For example, not all tooth extractions have a negative outcome. In fact, pulling a tooth can actually be a necessary step to restoring your oral health.

When and why a tooth extraction is necessary

Like a number of dental procedures the circumstances leading to a tooth extraction can vary. Tooth damage that cannot be restored is among the most common reasons for having your tooth removed.

  • Tooth decay
  • Trauma to your mouth, teeth, and gums

These are the more extreme circumstances that call for a tooth extraction.

But not all extractions have to do with a non-restorable dental condition. Other conditions could cause your dentist to recommend having a tooth or teeth extracted.

Orthodontic treatment

It could be necessary to extract a tooth or teeth to assure that your orthodontic treatment has adequate space to properly align your teeth.

Impacted wisdom teeth

On occasion, your wisdom teeth (back molars) can become misaligned or not emerge properly (impacted). This condition can be painful and increase the potential for ongoing inflammation or infection.

Impacted wisdom teeth also have the potential to damage your surrounding teeth. A wisdom teeth extraction provides relief and helps prevent damage to your adjoining teeth.

Compromised immunity

A tooth extraction can be necessary if your general health is being compromised by an infected tooth. Tooth removal could also be a preliminary step for a general surgical procedure if a tooth is increasing your infection risk.

Now that you have a broader perspective about a tooth extraction you’re probably curious about what to expect during a tooth extraction procedure and the recovery process.

What happens during and after a tooth extraction?

Basically, a tooth extraction is a brief procedure. Of course, this depends on the severity of your tooth issue.

Simple tooth extractions typically involve a single tooth. Local anesthesia is provided to numb the area around the tooth before it’s removed.

Surgical tooth extractions can be provided by your dentist or their referral to an oral surgeon. A stronger anesthetic is used and on occasion sedation is necessary depending on your circumstances.

A surgical extraction will usually involve removing an embedded tooth or one that is damaged or broken deep within your gum tissue.

Recovery from a tooth extraction can last a few days, again, based on the extent of your condition. Your dentist will provide specific post-extraction instructions to assure that your recovery is comfortable and effective.

Here’s what you can expect following a tooth extraction:

  • Mild bleeding is normal and not a cause for concern. Gauze placed by your dentist on the extraction site can be replaced as needed.
  • Pain and swelling is common and can be managed by over-the-counter or prescribed pain medication. Swelling can be treated with an ice pack gently placed on the external, affected area.
  • Eat soft foods and avoid hot beverages for the first 24 hours. Avoid using a straw since the suction response can dislodge the healing clot in your tissue.
  • Brush and floss as normal but avoid the area around your extraction site.
  • Follow-up with your dentist or oral surgeon according to their recommendations. And communicate any ongoing pain, bleeding, swelling, or concerning issues.

Preventive dental care is always a priority. But on the occasion when a tooth is threatening your oral health a tooth extraction could be necessary.

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