What to Expect During a Tooth Extraction
Cost | Preparation | Procedure | Risks | Recovery
Why are teeth removed?
Excessive tooth decay, tooth infection, and crowding can all require a tooth extraction. Those who get braces may need one or two teeth removed to provide room for their other teeth as they shift into place. Additionally, those who are undergoing chemotherapy or are about to have an organ transplant may need compromised teeth removed in order to keep their mouth and body healthy.
Tooth extraction is performed by a dentist or oral surgeon and is a relatively quick outpatient procedure with either local, general, intravenous anesthesia, or a combination. Removing visible teeth is often a simple extraction. Teeth that are broken, below the surface, or impacted require a more involved procedure.
How much does a tooth extraction cost?
The cost of a tooth extraction varies widely depending on whether the tooth is impacted. Simple extraction usually costs between $75 and $200 per tooth and could be more depending on the type of anesthesia you need.
The cost to remove impacted teeth is significantly higher and can land anywhere between $800 and $4,000. Where you live can also impact how much you pay for the procedure, as many services are tailored to an area’s cost of living.
How to prepare for a tooth extraction
Before scheduling the procedure, your dentist will take an X-ray of your tooth. Be sure to tell your dentist about any medications you take, as well as vitamins, supplements, and over-the-counter drugs.
Tell your dentist if you will soon be treated for another medical condition osteoporosis with an intravenous drug called a bisphosphonates. If so, the extraction should be done before the drug treatment, or your jaw could be at risk for osteonecrosis (bone death).
Also, tell your dentist about any of the following conditions:
- a congenital heart defect
- liver disease
- thyroid disease
- renal disease
- an artificial joint
- damaged heart valves
- adrenal disease
- an impaired immune system
- a history of bacterial endocarditis
- are on blood thinners
Your dentist may want to make sure all conditions are stable or treated before you undergo a tooth extraction. You might be prescribed antibiotics in the days leading up to the procedure if:
- your surgery is expected to be a long procedure
- you have an infection or a weakened immune system
- you have a specific medical condition
It’s helpful to keep the following in mind for the day of the tooth extraction in order to ensure quality treatment:
- If you will be receiving oral sedation or intravenous (IV) anesthesia, wear a short-sleeved shirt or loose-fitted clothing, and don’t eat or drink for six to eight hours before your appointment.
- Don’t smoke beforehand.
- Tell your dentist if you have a cold, as you may need to reschedule.
- Tell your dentist if you had nausea or vomiting the night before, which may require different anesthesia or rescheduling.
- If you’re receiving oral sedation or general anesthesia, have someone with you to drive you home.
What is the procedure for a tooth extraction?
Your tooth extraction will either be simple or surgical, depending on whether your tooth is visible or impacted.
You will receive a local anesthetic, which numbs the area around your tooth so you’ll feel only pressure, not pain, during the procedure. The dentist then uses an instrument called an elevator to loosen the tooth and forceps to remove it.
You have the option to receive just local anesthesia or possibly a form of sedation to make you feel calm and relaxed for the procedure. There is nitrous oxide, oral sedatives and IV sedation options available to most patients. You may also receive general anesthesia, depending on any medical conditions. With general anesthesia, you will remain unconscious during the procedure.
The general dentist or oral surgeon will cut into your gum with a small incision. They may need to remove bone around your tooth or cut your tooth before it can be extracted. Our clinic can assess your needs for sedation and help you decided which option is best for you. At our clinic we currently offer nitrous oxide and oral sedatives.
What are the risks of a tooth extraction?
There are a few risks for undergoing a tooth extraction; however, if your dentist recommends the procedure, the benefits likely outweigh the small chance of complications.
Usually, after a tooth extraction, a blood clot naturally forms in the socket — the hole in the bone where the tooth has been extracted. However, if the blood clot does not form or dislodges, the bone inside the socket can be exposed — referred to as “dry socket.” If this happens, the dentist will protect the area by putting a sedative dressing over it for a few days. During this time, a new clot will form.
Other risks include:
- bleeding that lasts longer than 12 hours
- severe fever and chills, signaling an infection
- nausea or vomiting
- chest pain and shortness of breath
- swelling and redness at the surgical site
Contact your dentist if you experience any of these symptoms.
What is the recovery period from a tooth extraction?
It normally takes a few days to recover after a tooth extraction. The following steps help ensure that your recovery goes smoothly.
- Apply an ice pack to your cheek directly after the procedure to reduce swelling. Use the ice pack for 10 minutes each time.
- After the dentist places the gauze pad over the affected area, bite down to reduce bleeding and to aid in clot formation. Change the gauze every 20-30 minutes until the bleeding subsides.
- Take any medications as prescribed, including over-the-counter painkillers.
- Rest and relax for the first 24 hours. Do not jump immediately into your regular routine the following day.
- Don’t use a straw for the first 24 hours.
- Don’t smoke.
- Avoid any foods with seeds or nuts. Also avoid anything spicy, carbonated, or mouthwashes containing alcohol as this may irritate the extraction site.
- Don’t rinse for 24 hours after the tooth extraction, and spit only gently.
- Use pillows to prop your head up when you lie down.
- Brush and floss your teeth like normal, but avoid the extraction site.
- The day after the procedure, eat soft foods, such as yogurt, pudding, and applesauce.
- After 24 hours, add a half-teaspoon of salt to eight ounces of warm water to rinse out your mouth.
- As you heal over the next few days, you can slowly reintroduce other foods into your diet.
If you are experiencing pain that isn’t going away after several days or signs of an infection —including fever, pain, and pus or drainage from the incision — make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible.
Common Questions & Answers
How long does it take to recover from a tooth extraction?
Though aftercare may differ based on the type of extraction and location of your tooth, you can usually expect to heal in a matter of 7 to 10 days. It’s important to do what you can to keep the blood clot in place in the tooth socket. Dislodging it can cause what’s called dry socket, which can be painful.
Is tooth extraction painful?
Does Tooth Extraction Hurt? Yes, getting a tooth pulled can hurt. However, your dentist will typically give you local anesthesia during the procedure to eliminate the pain. Also, following the procedure, dentists usually recommend over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription pain medication to help you manage the pain.
How much does a tooth extraction cost?
Average tooth removals cost: $75 to $300 for non-surgical, gum-erupted tooth extraction. $150 to $650 for a surgical extraction utilizing anesthesia. $185 to $600 for soft-tissue and complicated surgical extractions.
What happens after tooth extraction?
After you’ve had a tooth pulled take painkillers as prescribed. Bite firmly but gently on the gauze pad placed by your dentist to reduce bleeding and allow a clot to form in the tooth socket. Avoid rinsing or spitting forcefully for 24 hours after the extraction to avoid dislodging the clot that forms in the socket. You dentist will likely talk to you about your options for replacing the tooth including bridges or implants.
Can I go to work after tooth extraction?
Unless the patient develops post-operative complications, most people can return to work (sedentary jobs) or school within 1-2 days of the extraction. Dry sockets and infection are the most common issues that patients encounter after having their teeth removed.
Trusted Sources & Resources
When in doubt, check it out
If you’re unsure of your health status, have multiple health problems or are pregnant, speak with your doctor before starting a new dental procedure. Working with your doctor ahead of time can help you plan the medical/dental treatment that’s right for you. And that’s a good first step on your path to oral health.
Please consult your physician for personalized medical advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions regarding a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking professional medical advice or treatment because of something you have read on the Sherwood Dental website.
Dr. Rakesh Patel B.Sc., DDS on April 6, 2020