Top of the page
Gum disease can loosen or severely damage a tooth. A tooth that is severely damaged may need to be removed. Your dentist or a surgeon who specializes in surgeries of the mouth (oral and maxillofacial surgeon) can remove a tooth.
Before removing your tooth, your dentist will give you a local anesthetic to numb (freeze) the area where the tooth will be removed. A stronger, general anesthetic may be used, especially if several or all of your teeth need to be removed. General anesthetic prevents pain in the whole body and will make you sleep through the procedure.
After the tooth is removed, you may need stitches. You can gently bite down on a cotton gauze pad placed over the wound to help stop the bleeding. The removed tooth can be replaced with an implant, a denture, or a bridge. A bridge is a replacement for one or more (but not all) of the teeth and may be permanent or removable.
In most cases, the recovery period lasts only a few days. The following will help speed recovery:
After the tooth is removed, you may need stitches. Some stitches dissolve over time, and some have to be removed after a few days. Your dentist will tell you whether your stitches need to be removed.
Removing a tooth is necessary when decay or an abscessed tooth is so severe that no other treatment will cure the infection.
Removing the tooth can help keep infection from spreading to other areas of your mouth.
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.
A tooth extraction should be done as soon as possible to avoid the spread of infection and more serious problems. In cases in which a root canal treatment might not save the tooth, your dentist may recommend that the tooth be removed and a bridge or implant installed.
Smoking or using spit tobacco delays healing and reduces your ability to fight infection in your gums. So to heal well after your surgery, it's best to stop all use of tobacco. If you do smoke, the sucking motion of inhaling may loosen or dislodge the blood clot that is important for healing. For more information, see the topic Quitting Smoking.
Current as of: October 3, 2018
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Sarah A. Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Steven K. Patterson, BS, DDS, MPH - Dentistry & Arden G. Christen, DDS, MSD, MA, FACD - Dentistry
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2019 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.