Being told by your dentist that you need a tooth pulled may shock and alarm you. Learning the reasons for this recommendation and understanding what to expect can help ease your worries.
There are several reasons why you might need an extraction:
An untreated tooth infection won’t heal and will likely worsen without proper medical care. Ignoring an infected tooth can lead to the bone and gum weakening over time, which makes the damage much harder to repair.
You’re also asking for more pain and discomfort, and the infection will likely spread to other teeth. You also put yourself at risk for sepsis, which is deadly.
If your mouth is crowded and you don’t pull some teeth, your overbite or underbite can worsen. Your other teeth might move to “fit,” which can lead to additional problems:
First, relax. You shouldn’t feel pain because your dentist will numb the tooth, gums and bone tissue with a local anesthetic.
When the area is numb, your dentist will use a device called an “elevator,” placed between the tooth and gums, to create space. Your dentist will then use special forceps to pull out the tooth. The area will be thoroughly cleaned to prevent infection and prepped for recovery. The procedure is usually quick. Waiting for the local anesthesia to take effect may take longer than the actual extraction.
After an extraction, expect some bleeding — it’s normal. A clot will develop to help slow and eventually stop the bleeding. You want to be sure the clot stays in place, so follow your dentist’s directions for the next 48 hours.
After a few weeks the socket should close, but this depends on many factors, including the number of teeth removed and their size. The smaller the tooth, the faster the healing because there are fewer roots involved. Be patient and follow your dentist’s instructions. If you suddenly start bleeding or feeling pain, call your dentist immediately.
When you and your dentist discuss the treatment plan for tooth removal, you’ll also cover the options for replacing it.
One thing to remember: Viable options are dependent on your overall health. Make sure your dentist is aware of any prior or current medical issues. After you choose your replacement option, you’ll want to ask your dentist to submit a pre-treatment estimate to us, so you’ll know approximately what your out-of-pocket costs will be.
You have several options to choose from, depending on your situation and the health of your mouth:
What is it: A partial denture is a set of replacement teeth attached to a base that matches the skin color of your gums. It’s held in place with an adjustable clasp that attaches to your teeth and can be removed at night.
Who could use it: The partial denture is a good option for anyone who has lost multiple teeth because it can help support the facial muscles and make eating much more comfortable.
Remember: Follow your dentist’s post-surgical instructions, call if anything seems to go wrong after your surgery, and keep the rest of your mouth healthy by brushing and flossing every day.
Last updated February 7, 2022
The oral health information on this website is intended for educational purposes only. Always consult a licensed dentist or other qualified health care professional for any questions concerning your oral health.