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Maybe you have a broken tooth that is causing you a headache. Literally.

What Is a Tooth Extraction?

A tooth extraction (or dental extraction) is simply a dental surgery where a dentist pulls or surgically removes a tooth to improve a person’s oral health.

What to Expect

  • One 1-hour appointment (or longer depending on the number of teeth involved)

What Can a Dental Extraction Do for Me?

A tooth extraction is not usually the first option for the best dental care. Dentists try to save as many natural teeth as possible. But sometimes, removing a tooth is better than leaving it.

Benefits of a tooth extraction

  • Keep infection from spreading to other teeth or the body
  • Stop extreme pain or discomfort with a rotten, broken, or loose tooth
  • Relieve overcrowding

The Tooth Extraction Process

  • First Step

    Your dentist takes x-rays, writes up a complete health history, and performs a thorough dental exam, even if it is an emergency dental extraction. Your dentist may decide to do a tooth extraction for an infection or other major dental problem.

    The first step to pull your tooth is to numb your tooth and mouth with a local anesthetic. In some cases, patients may consult with their dentist and choose to have additional medications, as well, to maximize comfort. If it is an impacted tooth, you may also receive IV anesthesia and/or general anesthesia for your dental surgery. You will not be awake or feel any discomfort.

  • Second Step

    Once your mouth is numb, if the tooth is intact and above the gumline, the dentist loosens the tooth with a dental instrument called an elevator, then pulls it out with forceps. You do not feel any tooth extraction pain. But you may feel a lot of pressure.

  • Third Step

    If the tooth is under the gumline, the dentist makes a small incision in the gum, while you are asleep and numb, and removes bone around the tooth. Then the dentist cuts the tooth and removes all the pieces.

  • Fourth Step

    After the tooth extraction, the dentist cleans the extraction site, packs the area with gauze, and provides you with instructions. Following these instructions helps the healing process proceed as quickly as possible over the next few days.