Go into your tooth extraction appointment with confidence.

You’ve never appreciated all the years of having a bright, pain-free smile more than now. You have a toothache, and it isn’t the first time that tooth in particular has caused you problems. You might have even been to the dentist before for a crown, root canals, and treatment for infection on the same tooth.

If you’re feeling the pain in your teeth and every other means of treatment has failed, your dentist may recommend a tooth extraction. It might sound intimidating to some, but in truth, extractions are simple, quick procedures that will restore your oral health in no time. To help you get a picture of what to expect, our dental specialists are answering all of your top questions.

When does a tooth need to be extracted?

One instance in which your dentist might recommend a tooth extraction is when root canals and crowns have failed. This is usually only in cases of advanced decay or advanced periodontitis. Other reasons for tooth extractions include impacted or crowded wisdom teeth or impacted teeth due to primary teeth (“baby teeth”) that didn’t fall out as expected.

Ultimately, your dentist will let you know when a tooth extraction is the right choice for your oral health needs and why it may be necessary. An extraction is always the last resort. While dental implants are a wonderful restorative option, nothing beats your natural teeth.

What can I expect during a tooth extraction?

A tooth extraction is a simple process. Our focus will be on keeping you comfortable, which includes common sense comfort measures as well as local anesthesia.

After removing the tooth, Dr. Harris will pack the socket with gauze. In some cases, he may place a few stitches in the socket. Regardless, the entire extraction often takes half an hour or less and then you’re on your way home.

Do tooth extractions hurt?

During a tooth extraction, you’ll receive plenty of local anesthesia to block any pain and keep you comfortable. The procedure involves little to no discomfort, similar to other dental work we perform with local anesthesia. In fact, many patients who come in for extractions are already in severe pain from their broken or infected teeth. The procedure gives them a great deal of pain relief.

You are likely to experience some discomfort when the anesthesia wears off and for the first few days after the procedure. Over-the-counter pain relievers are often all you’ll need to get comfortable, though.

How long does it take to recover from a tooth extraction?

Tooth extraction is technically a surgery, but it’s an extremely minor one. Within a few days, most patients are back to their daily routine.

During those first few days, you can expect some swelling and possible bruising. You might have residual bleeding, but only small amounts.

Your dentist will give you detailed aftercare instructions for your recovery. Those instructions are based on your specific circumstances and your health needs, so follow them with care. You may need to take antibiotics during your recovery to prevent an infection.

What kind of anesthesia will I receive during my tooth extraction?

Because a tooth extraction is a minor surgery, all you need is local anesthesia. Expect a similar experience to the injected anesthesia you get when you need a cavity filling, crown, or other dental procedure.

This makes the recovery period far shorter than it would be if you received general anesthesia because your body needs to recover from the anesthesia too. The only cases that warrant general anesthesia may be when your teeth are severely low beneath the gumline, as with some wisdom teeth extractions.

Are there alternatives to a tooth extraction?

The alternatives to a tooth extraction will depend on the circumstances. Your dentist cares about your smile, so our goal is to always choose a treatment that balances maintaining your natural teeth with protecting your health.

If your tooth is infected or has severe decay, a root canal may be an alternative to an extraction. During this procedure, Dr. Harris will remove the pulp and nerve inside the tooth. Then, he will seal the hollow tooth so it doesn’t develop decay, and he’ll place a crown to repair the exterior damage.

Another possible alternative is called an apicoectomy. During this surgery, the dentist removes the root tip of the tooth. This is a potential option when a root canal isn’t possible or wouldn’t be effective

Ultimately, though, it will come down to your teeth and your specific needs. Dentists take your precise circumstances into account and use their extensive knowledge and training to identify the best solution for your smile.

Will I have a noticeable gap after my tooth extraction?

After tooth extraction, your tooth will be gone and you’ll see a gap in its place. However, there are ways to fix that gap so your smile looks fresh and bright again.

A dental implant is an artificial tooth that is custom-made to match your teeth. While this is a cosmetic procedure, it’s an effective way to fill in a gap after a tooth extraction so you have a healthy, natural-looking smile.

What to Do If You Need a Tooth Extraction

If you believe you may need a tooth extraction, the path is simple. Schedule an appointment at our office. Dr. Harris will be able to evaluate your needs, discuss your options, and get you on the path to the fresh smile you deserve.