First Time User? Enroll now.
COVID-19: Vaccine information, visitor restrictions, testing, monoclonal antibody therapy, and additional resources
Home > Fitness & Health > Health Library > Tooth Extraction
Tooth extraction is the complete removal of a tooth, from the part of the tooth that you can see to the roots that are in the jawbone. Damage caused by tooth decay is the most common reason for a tooth's extraction. Other reasons for removing a tooth include infection or injury. Removing the tooth can help keep an infection from spreading to other parts of the mouth. And some teeth may be removed to prevent or correct crowding in the mouth.
Your dentist or an oral surgeon, who specializes in surgeries of the mouth, can remove a tooth. It can be done in the dentist's or oral surgeon's office.
The dentist first numbs the area around the tooth. You may also get medicine to help you relax. The dentist uses a special tool to grasp the tooth and lift it out of the tooth socket. You may feel a tug on the tooth as it is being removed. If the tooth breaks while being pulled, or if it doesn't come out in one piece, the dentist uses other tools to remove the rest of the tooth. After the tooth comes out, you will be given a piece of gauze to bite down on. This will help stop bleeding. You may need stitches. You will be told if and when you should come back to have the stitches removed.
You may have some pain, bleeding, or swelling afterward. The dentist may give you medicine for pain. The pain should steadily decrease in the days after the extraction.
A blood clot will form in the tooth socket after the extraction. The clot protects the bone during healing. If that blood clot gets loose or comes out of the socket, you may have a dry socket, which exposes the bone. A dry socket may last for several days and can cause severe pain. If you get a dry socket, your dentist can treat it with medicine.
You and your dentist may want to discuss options to replace the removed tooth. Options include an implant, a denture, or a bridge.
A tooth must be removed when decay or an abscessed tooth is so severe that no other treatment will cure the infection. It's also done when gum disease has damaged a tooth so badly that there is no other way to prevent the infection from spreading and damaging nearby teeth and bones.
Removing the tooth can help keep infection from spreading to other areas of your mouth. In the case of gum disease, removing a tooth prevents the disease from spreading and damaging nearby teeth and bones.
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.
Current as of:
June 30, 2021
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Sarah Marshall MD - Family MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family MedicineMartin J. Gabica MD - Family MedicineE. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal MedicineArden Christen DDS, MSD, MA, FACD - Dentistry
Current as of: June 30, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Arden Christen DDS, MSD, MA, FACD - Dentistry
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2022 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.