Tooth extraction may be a necessity for anyone at some point. Pulling a tooth, however, is always the last resort. Dentists will do everything they can to save it. No restoration is as durable as natural dentition. But sometimes there is no alternative.
This guide will help you figure out whether you might need tooth extraction, what the process is like, and what to do afterwards.Creative Commons
Reasons for tooth extraction
Before removing a tooth, dentists always try fillings, endodontic treatment, or partial restoration such as dental crowns. Extraction is performed when all this fails. The most common reasons for removing teeth include:
- a neglected or dead tooth,
- infection or risk of infection,
- overcrowding, and
Teeth that have suffered trauma or are infected may need emergency removal. Overcrowded teeth are often pulled before orthodontic work is done. When it comes to impaction, these teeth when left alone, might lead to infections and severe pain.
Types of tooth extraction
At times, teeth may be relatively simple to remove, but oral surgery may be inevitable. Have a look at how extractions are categorized.
Simple tooth extraction
Simple extraction mainly concerns dentition that has broken through the gums. This means:
- whole or intact teeth that are visible in the mouth,
- loose teeth,
- dead teeth, and
- baby teeth.
Baby teeth are relatively simple to remove. Pediatric dentists do this when the growth of permanent teeth in children doesn’t synchronize with the falling out of primary dentition. The body might try to absorb it back. That can be dangerous and those baby teeth have to be pulled.
If the patient has serious dental anxiety, sedation, most commonly laughing gas, can be administered. Otherwise, a local anesthetic will be used to numb your mouth. This is included in the price for the procedure. A stronger type of sedation means higher costs.
A follow-up visit is usually free of charge as well. The dentist will check healing and remove sutures, if necessary.
Surgical tooth extraction
Some teeth have to be extracted surgically. This type of tooth removal involves cutting and lifting mucosal tissue (a part of your gum). The tooth might have to be cut up into smaller parts. This way the opening doesn’t have to be as big and healing is faster.
A surgical procedure is often necessary when teeth are impacted or broken. The first mainly concerns wisdom teeth. If not removed, this could lead to possible infection or crowding (not enough space in the mouth for all your teeth). Parts of a broken tooth often due to an incomplete prior extraction.
A local anesthetic is sometimes enough. For partially-bony and fully-bony impactions you might have to be sedated, which drives up the costs. Some family dentists refuse to undertake such cases. You then have to go to an oral surgeon. This makes the procedure even more expensive.
A coronectomy is performed when there is a risk of hurting the inferior dental nerve. Such damage, if not permanent, can result in weeks of numbness in the tongue, lower lip, chin, teeth, and gums. Talking and eating is then very difficult.
Tooth extraction procedure
Below is what the process most commonly looks like. Conditionals may change on the fly, however, especially with more complicated extractions.
You will be injected with a numbing agent to reduce your discomfort. The more complex the case, the more likely that you will be sedated too.
The dentist will grasp the tooth with forceps and rock it back and forth. This will make it come loose in the socket. In more complicated cases, the gum may have to be cut open and the tooth can be cut into parts.
The extraction site is most commonly stitched up with self-dissolving materials. You will get a gauze pad to bite down on to control the bleeding.
Extractions are invasive procedures. It’s a good idea to schedule a follow-up appointment to make sure the extraction site is healing properly. If the stitches were not self-dissolvable, your dentist will remove them.
Complete tooth extraction healing takes about 3 days. Some pain and swelling might be present during this time. Take medication according to your dental professional’s instructions. If the pain continues for longer, schedule another visit.
Recovery after tooth removal
Provided that you follow your dentist’s instructions there is a high chance that your extraction will heal just fine. You may experience some worrying symptoms, but they are a part of the process.
Here is what you can expect:
- some bleeding,
- minor swelling,
- white tissue forming in the affected area, and
- pain around the tooth socket.
Generally, bleeding should stop around 48 hours after the procedure. If you continue to bleed after this period, schedule a follow-up appointment. Swelling and soreness is common for about 3 days.
Dos and don’ts after tooth extraction
Proper tooth extraction aftercare can prevent unnecessary discomfort and complications. There are certain things you should do immediately, and some you should continue for a twenty-four hour period after your procedure.
24 hours after the procedure
Some things you can do immediately after you leave the office include the following.
- Take painkillers according to your dentist’s instructions. A common drug is ibuprofen, which also has anti-inflammatory properties.
- Try to keep the gauze pad in place for about 3-4 hours.
- If you experience discomfort or pain, apply an ice bag to the extraction area. Keep it in place for no more than 10 minutes at a time to avoid tissue damage.
- Bite on moistened tea bags to help constrict blood vessels.
- When sleeping, prop your head up on pillows. Laying flat can make the healing slower.
Days after the procedure
Make sure to follow the tips below for the next day.
- Remember to keep up with your oral hygiene but avoid the affected area when brushing.
- Try to avoid physical exertion.
- Don’t rinse, spit, or use a straw.
- Don’t drink alcohol or smoke.
- Rinse your mouth with a salt solution or an antiseptic mouthwash.
Eating or, rather, refraining from eating certain foods can help make sure your recovery is speedy and efficient. Soft foods are recommended for at least a week.
Moreover, do not use straws, to avoid “sucking” which could lead to dry socket. The rule of thumb is that soft is good while hard and sticky is bad.
Possible complications after tooth removal
Complications take place when you don’t follow dentists’ instructions closely. Sometimes they may happen if you’re simply unlucky. Either way, you should be aware of the signs that point to a problem, namely:
- nerve damage,
- infection, and
- dry socket.
If pain lasts for longer than 3 days or if you lose the sense of touch or taste, you could be at risk of nerve damage. Contact your dentist as soon as possible. Infection is possible when there is a big extraction site, especially after surgical procedures. Pulsating pain and inflammation are common symptoms. The cause is usually the patient not conforming to proper oral hygiene.
Dry socket is a very painful condition. It mostly happens when proper aftercare is not conducted. If a patient who recently had a tooth removed uses straws or brushes the surgical area aggressively, the blood clot can become dislodged. Professional treatment is not necessary, a new blood clot should form. Nonetheless, it is very uncomfortable.
A closer look at the cost of tooth extraction
Tooth extraction costs from $50 up to $1,100. The factors that impact the price most are:
- the complexity of the procedure,
- the type of anesthesia that is needed, and
- whether the extraction is being done by a specialist.
The estimate for an extraction can involve a broad range. Due to the nature of the procedure, it is impossible to say exactly what the cost will be until the work is completed.
If you need it done quickly because of pain, or any other considerations, an emergency dental service might make it even more expensive.
The table below shows precise info based on average prices of different types of extractions.
|Extraction type||Average cost||Cost range|
|Impacted tooth, soft tissue||$350||$250-$850|
|Impacted tooth, partially bony||$450||$300-$950|
|Impacted tooth, fully bony||$550||$350-$1,100|
Play around with the calculator. It shows precise info based on average prices of different types of extractions. The estimated price will change along with any alterations you make.
Tooth extraction near me
Costs of tooth removal often vary greatly between offices. Some dentists refuse to take on more complicated cases. It’s important to figure out who can get the job done well but also affordably.
We can help you there. The Authority Dental database has thousands of experts with great reviews. The best dentist near me service includes booking your appointment, saving you time, money, and effort.
We’ll consider your insurance plan and chosen payment method. The service is free and available 24/7. Check out this page for more information.
Does insurance cover tooth extraction costs?
Insurance might cover about half of the cost. Adult Medicaid covers tooth extraction in almost every state. If you are over 65, caring for a child, or if you have a disability, you might qualify.
There are yearly maximums to take into account, however. Tooth extractions can get you up to that maximum pretty quickly, especially with anesthesia. That means your insurance won’t cover anything else for the rest of the year.
A good way to lower all of your dental costs is a discount plan. These work similarly to memberships. You pay a regular fee and get a discount on all dental procedures. There is no paperwork or yearly maximums.
How long does tooth extraction take?
The whole thing usually takes about an hour. You may have to take an oral sedative or be hooked up to an IV 60 minutes before the procedure starts. Higher forms of sedation also mean you might feel drowsy the next day.
What to eat after tooth extraction?
It’s best to stay away from food until after your anesthetic wears off. Stick to a liquid or soft-food diet for up to a week afterwards.
After about 7-10 days you can start adding eggs and meats to your diet. When 2 weeks have gone by, even sticky and crunchy treats are acceptable.
How long does pain last after tooth extraction?
Generally, pain should stop around 48 hours after the procedure. You may feel some tenderness for up to 3 days after you leave the office.
What should a tooth extraction look like when healing?
The first thing you’ll notice is a red blood clot forming. After that, the soft tissue will begin the granulation process, making it appear creamy white.
How long does it take the hole to close after tooth extraction?
The blood clot should begin forming the same day. A full recovery may take a few weeks, but after about 2, you shouldn’t feel any difference and can begin eating as you normally did.
Do I need antibiotics after tooth extraction?
Preventative antibiotics are controversial, but they’re a popular solution. Generally, the ADA advises that no course of antibiotics should be prescribed unless there are signs or a high risk of infection.
Can I pull a broken tooth out myself?
No. This is a complicated procedure and doing it yourself introduces a huge risk of infection. What’s more, you won’t be able to sedate yourself. Don’t put yourself through unnecessary pain.