What to Expect from the Surgical Tooth Extraction Process

Jamie J. Alexander on March 29, 2022

Ideally, you will keep your full set of adult teeth throughout your entire life, maintaining the healthy function, comfort, and a beautiful smile. However, there are many reasons you might need a tooth extracted, and in these cases, removing one or more teeth can help you preserve and improve your overall oral health. 

Sometimes surgical tooth extraction is the best way to treat a dental emergency. Other times, surgical tooth extraction is part of a comprehensive treatment plan to replace damaged or missing teeth and/or to create the beautiful smile you have always wanted.

Are You a Good Candidate for Surgical Tooth Extraction?

You may be a candidate for extraction if:

  • Your tooth is severely decayed, and alternative treatments like a filling, inlay, onlay, or crown would not be sufficient for a long-lasting restoration.
  • You have an infected pulp that is not responding to root canal therapy.
  • Traumatic injury has fractured or broken the tooth.
  • Removal of your wisdom teeth will improve your oral health, quality of life, and tooth alignment.
  • Your mouth is not large enough to accommodate all of your teeth, causing orthodontic issues such as crowding and malocclusion (how your teeth come together when you speak, bite, chew, clench under stress, or grind them together).
  • You have congenitally extra teeth that prevent proper natural tooth eruption.
  • You are missing other teeth and need to make more space for a traditional denture or implant denture.
  • You do not like the appearance of one of your teeth and other cosmetic treatments cannot correct the issue.

Simple Tooth Extraction

If a needed extraction is easy to perform, the extraction can be comfortably performed by Dr. Jamie Alexander in our Boynton Beach, Florida office. Although local anesthetic may be all that is needed, we offer oral sedation or nitrous oxide for this procedure. While the area is anesthetized, Dr. Alexander will loosen the tooth from the surrounding gums and bone tissue and then remove the tooth with forceps.

Surgical Tooth Extraction

Often tooth extraction is best performed by an oral surgeon. Situations that warrant surgical extraction include a tooth that has broken off at the gum line, a tooth that is covered by bone (impacted), or a tooth that is growing in at an abnormal angle. Each of these circumstances and many others require incision of the gums and advanced surgical methods to extract the tooth and at the same time minimize trauma and maximize healing.

The surgeon Dr. Alexander refers you to will offer sedation options including moderate IV sedation. If you are considering or planning implant treatment to replace the tooth, the surgeon can pack the tooth socket with bone material which will add volume and density to the jawbone to hold the eventual implant.

“We will be in communication with the oral surgeon on your behalf,” says Dr. Alexander. “I personally follow up on every referral I make to a specialist to provide comprehensive information about each patient and to collaborate on treatment details and healing. The specialists I work with are like me in their approach to patient-centered care.”

What to Expect After Tooth Extraction

After a tooth is extracted, the dentist or the surgeon will place a gauze pad over the site to help stop bleeding. If a few sutures were used to close the wound, they will likely be the dissolvable type that fall out on their own within a week.

Before you go home, you will be given instructions about changing gauze pads if bleeding continues, controlling pain as the local anesthetic wears off, controlling swelling over the next 2 to 3 days, and avoiding disturbing the extraction site.

If you have had oral or IV sedation, you will need someone to drive you home.

When you arrive home, you should rest for the next 24 hours while bleeding stops and healing begins. Be prepared to eat soft foods and slowly go back to chewing solid foods as the extraction site becomes more comfortable over a period of days.

Pain in the gums and jaw muscles might increase over the first 2 to 3 days and then subside. This pain correlates with the body’s natural swelling process around a wound. In most cases, the pain is comfortably managed with over-the-counter, non-opioid analgesics. You can control swelling with intermittent cold packs on the outside of the cheek.

For the first 24 hours, it could be easy to dislodge the blood clot where the tooth was extracted. For this reason, you will be advised not to suck on a straw and you will be given very specific instructions about cleaning your mouth with special care to be gentle around the extraction site. For example, if you have sutures, you may be permitted to gently rinse your mouth with warm saltwater during the first 24 hours and advised to begin gently brushing teeth that are not adjacent to the wound on day two after the extraction. In most cases, the return to normal brushing and flossing can begin one week after.

You will be scheduled for a post-operative examination of the extraction site, usually two weeks after the procedure. If you have questions about prolonged swelling, discomfort, or other changes you observe in your mouth after tooth extraction, you should feel comfortable calling the office of the doctor who performed the extraction. This doctor wants to be of immediate, responsible assistance.

Oral Examination Is the First Step

To learn if a tooth extraction is in your best oral health interest, Dr. Jamie Alexander will perform a thorough oral examination. You will be fully informed and have the opportunity to ask questions. You and Dr. Alexander also will discuss the most appropriate next treatment for replacing the lost tooth or teeth with an implant, bridge, or denture, or for moving your remaining teeth into the best position for optimal function and a beautiful smile.

We invite you to call us today to schedule the dental examination you need in Boynton Beach, FL.