3 Things to Know About Tooth Extraction: What to Expect Before and After

To maintain good oral health, tooth extraction can sometimes be essential. Many patients must have a tooth extracted due to severe damage, decay, or other reasons. In fact, it is estimated that around 20 million teeth are extracted annually in the US alone, and it’s not limited to wisdom teeth. But even though this procedure is relatively common, if you’ve been told you need a tooth pulled, you probably have some questions. This article will help tell you everything you need to know about tooth extraction, including both before, during, and after the procedure.

Why do I need a tooth extraction?

As we mentioned, patients often need a tooth extracted due to damage or decay, but there is more to it than that. The most common reasons for tooth extraction are as follows:

  • Cavities (severe tooth decay)
  • Impacted teeth (such as wisdom teeth)
  • Fractured tooth
  • Crowded teeth
  • Dental trauma
  • Severe gum disease

And as you read above, tooth extraction is relatively common and the procedure is easier than ever.

1. What to expect before your tooth extraction. 

Before undergoing a tooth extraction procedure, you will have a consultation with your dentist at My Chico Dentist, who will assess your oral health and discuss the need for extraction. This includes evaluating X-rays and conducting a comprehensive oral evaluation. Secondly, your dentist will provide detailed instructions regarding pre-operative preparations, such as fasting, if necessary and adjusting any medications that could interfere with the procedure. 

Additionally, arranging transportation to and from the dental office is essential, as the anesthesia used during the extraction may impair your driving ability. On the day of the procedure, wearing comfortable clothing and having a responsible adult accompany you to provide support and assistance is recommended.

2. What to expect during your tooth extraction.

Several steps are involved before the actual extraction starts. We will administer local anesthesia to numb the area around the affected tooth and the surrounding gum tissue. The dentist will carefully loosen the tooth and delicately extract it from its socket using specialized dental instruments. 

In certain situations, such as severe decay or a broken tooth at the gum line, incisions may be required in the gums to access the tooth effectively. Following the extraction, the socket is meticulously cleaned and disinfected. Depending on the specific circumstances, your dentist might also place a dental bone graft to prevent jawbone loss. Finally, stitches may be utilized to aid in the healing process and promote optimal recovery.

3. What to expect after your tooth extraction.

After the tooth extraction procedure, your dentist will release you to continue your recovery at home. It is usual for the recovery process to span a few days, but this doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t return to work or some of your usual activities. To facilitate a smoother and more comfortable healing process, there are certain measures you can take to minimize discomfort, reduce the risk of infection, and expedite recovery.

Here are some of the common suggestions you can expect to receive from your dentist regarding tooth extraction aftercare:

  • Follow the prescribed painkillers as directed by your dentist to manage any discomfort. In many cases, your dentist will simply recommend alternating Tylenol and Advil every two hours for the first day or two to manage pain and swelling.
  • Bite down gently but firmly on the gauze pad provided by your dentist to control bleeding and allow a blood clot to form in the tooth socket. Change the gauze pads regularly before they become saturated, or keep the same pad in place for three to four hours after the extraction.
  • Apply an ice bag or cold compress to the affected area immediately after the procedure to reduce swelling. Use ice for 10-minute intervals, ensuring to give breaks in between.
  • Give yourself ample rest for at least 24 hours following the extraction. Limit physical activity, such as your exercise routine, for the next day or two.
  • Refrain from rinsing or spitting forcefully for 24 hours after the extraction. This precaution prevents the dislodgment of the blood clot from forming in the socket.
  • After 24 hours have passed, rinse your mouth with a saltwater solution. You can make this solution by mixing 1/2 teaspoon of salt with eight ounces of warm water. Gently swish the solution in your mouth and then spit it out.
  • Avoid using a straw or smoking for the first 24 hours, as the suction created could disturb the blood clot and hinder the healing process.

What to do about those missing teeth.

If you had wisdom teeth extracted, you won’t need to pursue tooth replacement options. However, if you had a molar or other tooth extracted, your dentist will likely recommend an option to manage those missing teeth. When you don’t replace missing teeth, it can create other health issues later on, including but not limited to:

  • Infection of the gums
  • Misalignment or shifting of your remaining teeth
  • Gum and jawbone deterioration

For these reasons, your dentist will likely recommend a restorative dentistry treatment, such as dental implants, bridges, or dentures. Each of these treatments can help to preserve your oral health and protect your smile. 

Dental Implants 

Dental implants are a permanent solution for replacing missing teeth. They involve surgically placing artificial tooth roots into the jawbone, providing a stable foundation for custom-made crowns, bridges, or dentures, resulting in a natural-looking and functional tooth replacement option. Of all the tooth replacement options, dental implants are designed to look, feel, and function the most like your natural teeth. And they have a 95% success rate, making them a popular solution for patients.


Dental bridges are prosthetic devices used to replace one or more missing teeth. They consist of artificial teeth, called pontics, which are held in place by dental crowns on the adjacent teeth, effectively “bridging” the gap and restoring the appearance and function of the missing teeth.


Dentures, or false teeth, are removable prosthetic devices that replace missing teeth and surrounding tissues. They can be either full dentures, which replace all teeth in an arch, or partial dentures, which fill in gaps between natural teeth. Dentures are custom-made to fit the individual’s mouth, improving aesthetics, speech, and chewing ability.

Contact My Chico Dentist today if you have questions about tooth extractions. 

Understanding the key aspects of tooth extraction can help alleviate concerns and prepare you for the procedure. By recognizing the reasons why you need a tooth pulled and being aware of what to expect before and after, you can confidently approach the process. If you require a tooth extraction, or have any dental concerns, don’t hesitate to contact My Chico Dentist. Schedule an appointment today to receive personalized care and professional guidance for your oral health needs.

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