What Happens During a Tooth Extraction?

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What Happens During a Tooth Extraction?

Your dentist tells you that you need a tooth extraction, and immediately, questions start racing through your head. “Will it hurt? Why do I need it? What’s the procedure like?” First of all, there’s no need to worry. The team at Prescott Dentistry is here to explain exactly what happens during a tooth extraction procedure. 

Surgical Tooth Extraction FAQs

Anxiety about an upcoming dental procedure is not uncommon. To alleviate your stress, here are some answers to several common questions about surgical tooth extraction procedures.

Why do I need a surgical tooth extraction?

While we will always do everything possible to save your tooth, there are some instances where tooth extraction is necessary. If your tooth has been severely damaged from crowding, an accident, or decay, you may need it removed. 

A surgical extraction is necessary when:

  • Your tooth is severely broken beyond the gum line
  • You have impacted teeth (in the case of wisdom teeth)
  • Your tooth has extreme root morphology (oddly shaped roots)
  • There is dense or inelastic bone tissue surrounding your tooth

How long is a tooth extraction procedure?

Each procedure varies by case, but you can expect an average extraction to last 20-40 minutes per tooth. The type and location of the extracted teeth affect the length of time they take to remove.

What is the recovery time?

How long it takes you to recover varies depending on your specific case, but on average most people feel normal within 48-72 hours. The jawbone can take several weeks to heal, however, so if you plan to replace a missing tooth with an implant, you will have to wait until your jaw has fully recovered.

Do tooth extractions hurt?

With the help of local anesthesia, you should feel only pressure—no pain—during a tooth extraction. At Prescott Dentistry, our goal is to make our patients feel comfortable and safe at all times. We offer a complimentary comfort menu to all of our patients who come in for a dental visit.

The Four Steps in a Surgical Tooth Extraction

Step 1: Numbing

Tooth extraction can seem scary, but there should only be some minimal discomfort at most. The first step is to numb your tooth and the surrounding tissue with an anesthetic shot. During the extraction procedure, you should feel absolutely no pain. If you do, alert your dentist right away to make sure the proper amount of anesthetic has been administered.

Step 2: Extraction

To surgically remove a tooth, a small incision is made in the gum to expose its root. The tooth is then sectioned into pieces that are easier to remove. In some cases, it may be necessary to trim some of the bone tissue in order to provide better access to the tooth.

Step 3: Closing the Space

After the tooth has been removed, your dentist will make sure the socket stays healthy by scraping away any infected tissue and washing it out to remove any remaining tooth or bone fragments. Then your dentist will stitch up the extraction site and ask you to bite down on a piece of gauze to control the bleeding. In the case of post-operative swelling, the dental team will give you an ice pack.

Step 4: Aftercare

Your extraction is over! The Prescott Dental team will make sure you don’t leave our office until all of your post-op questions have been answered. Your comfort is our top priority, so we will provide you with all of the information you need for a speedy recovery. 

While the procedure is typically uncomplicated, it is still important to follow your dentist’s post-operative instructions carefully. To make sure the extraction site heals properly, for the next 24 hours be sure to:

  • Rest
  • Take painkillers as directed
  • Avoid drinking from a straw
  • Do not rinse or spit forcefully
  • Abstain from smoking
  • Eat soft foods like yogurt, soup, or applesauce
  • Prop your head up with a pillow while you’re lying down

After 24 hours have passed:

  • Rinse your mouth with a warm salt solution after meals to remove debris
  • Avoid the extraction site when you brush and floss until fully healed

Tooth Extractions in Prescott, Arizona

Drs. Lance German and Nathan Thompson are proud to provide the community of Prescott with holistic and biomimetic dentistry. Our mission is to create an environment of calm and healing so you can feel comfortable, no matter what type of procedure you need. For more information about surgical tooth extractions, or to schedule a consultation, contact Prescott Dentistry online or call our office at 928-445-1660.



Photo by Usman Yousaf on Unsplash