Home > Health & Wellness > Health Library > Tooth Extraction
Gum disease can loosen or severely damage a tooth. A tooth that is severely damaged may need to
be removed. Your
dentist or a surgeon who specializes in surgeries of the mouth (oral and maxillofacial surgeon) can remove a tooth.
removing your tooth, your dentist will give you a
local anesthetic to numb the area where the tooth will
be removed. A stronger,
general anesthetic may be used, especially if several
or all of your teeth need to be removed. General anesthetic prevents pain in
the whole body and will make you sleep through the procedure.
After the tooth is removed, you may need stitches. You can gently bite
down on a cotton gauze pad placed over the wound to help stop the bleeding. The
removed tooth can be replaced with an implant, a denture, or a
bridge is a replacement for one or more (but not all)
of the teeth and may be permanent or removable.
In most cases, the recovery period
lasts only a few days. The following will help speed recovery:
After the tooth is removed, you may need stitches. Some stitches dissolve over time, and some have to be removed after a few days. Your dentist will tell you whether your stitches need to be removed.
Removing a tooth is necessary when
decay or an
abscessed tooth is so severe that no other treatment
will cure the infection.
Removing the tooth can help keep
infection from spreading to other areas of your mouth.
Some dental work can cause bacteria in the
mouth to enter the bloodstream and cause infections in other parts of the body.
People who have a hard time fighting off infections may need to take
antibiotics before and after dental surgery. You may need to take antibiotics if you:
After an extraction, a blood clot forms in the tooth
socket. The clot protects the bone while the healing process takes place. If
that blood clot is loosened or dislodged, you may have a dry socket, in which the bone is
exposed. Dry sockets may last for several days and may cause severe pain that
sometimes includes ear pain.
A tooth extraction should be done
as soon as possible to avoid the spread of infection and more serious problems.
In cases in which a
root canal treatment might not save the tooth, your
dentist may recommend that the tooth be removed and a bridge or implant
Smoking or using spit tobacco delays healing and reduces your ability to fight infection in your gums. So to heal well after your surgery, it's best to stop all use of tobacco. If you do smoke, the sucking motion of inhaling may loosen or dislodge the blood clot that is important for healing. For more information, see the topic Quitting Smoking.
Complete the surgery information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this surgery.
Current as of:
January 24, 2013
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Steven K. Patterson, BS, DDS, MPH - Dentistry
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more, visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.
I want to...
1111 Duff Avenue Ames, Iowa 50010
515-239-2011 Email us
Anywhere in Iowa 800-524-6877