If you’re scheduled to have a tooth extraction, you might be wondering what to expect. While our permanent teeth can last our whole life, several factors can make tooth removal a necessary procedure.

It might seem a little scary, but removing a tooth is typically a routine procedure. When it comes to the lead-up to your treatment and aftercare, you’ll want to follow a few tips to ensure that recovery from your tooth extraction is a comfortable and smooth healing process.

Reasons for Tooth Extraction

The reasons that you may need to have a tooth extraction is to repair problems spotted by you or your dental professional or to stop future problems for your teeth. You may feel symptoms like aching teeth before these issues are identified by your dental professional.

The most common problems that may be identified, and mean that you may require a tooth removal, are the following:

  • Having an infected wisdom tooth . This type of infection is more likely to occur in your wisdom teeth than your other teeth, as this area is difficult to reach, and bacteria or food debris can get stuck here.
  • Overcrowding – teeth may be removed as part of orthodontic treatment.
  • A rotten (decayed) tooth which is beyond repair, severe infection, or fractured tooth.

How to Prepare for Tooth Extraction?

To get ready for a tooth extraction procedure, your dental professional will normally take an X-ray of the tooth causing the issues.

Tooth extraction is a surgical procedure and is normally carried out under local anaesthetic. You must also inform your dental professional if you are currently prescribed any kind of medication, supplements, or other drugs and if you have allergies to any medication.

To avoid any tooth extraction complications, you should also inform your dental professional of any medical conditions you may have such as diabetes, liver or thyroid disease, hypertension, an artificial joint, or immune impairment.

It’s also worth knowing you may be prescribed antibiotics either before and/or after the surgical procedure. Factors your doctor considers includes duration, extent of the procedure, and degree of infection.

Tooth Extraction Procedure

If you are having a tooth removed, you may be wondering how long does a tooth extraction take? A routine extraction may take as little as 20-30 minutes but for multiple teeth, it may take an additional 15 minutes per tooth.

Simple tooth extraction

The more complex tooth removal procedure is surgical tooth extraction (also called minor oral surgery). The reason it’s more complicated is that in this case, you may have an impacted tooth that has become partially or totally trapped inside the jaw or a tooth that’s ‘fused’ (ankylosed) to the bone. This procedure is more likely to be carried out by a specialized oral surgeon as an incision needs to be made in your gum and some bone be removed.

Tooth Extraction Complications

If your dental professional recommends a removal procedure, they’ll let you know what symptoms to expect, like swelling after a tooth extraction. Beyond this, there are a couple of other complications you may experience, and we’ll cover how best to deal with them.

What is Dry Socket?

Dry socket is the main complication you should be aware of after a tooth extraction. Once you’ve had a tooth removed, the healing process involves the formation of blood clot and new protective layer of tissue forming over the tooth socket. If this doesn’t happen, then you’ll feel symptoms of dry socket as your tooth socket isn’t protected.

Dry Socket Symptoms

The main symptoms of dry socket are intense pain felt in the bone underneath the tooth that may have been removed and potential inflammation and infection of dry socket can follow your discomfort. If you have felt high levels of tooth sensitivity , the sensations of dry sockets are similar. It may also radiate beyond the area and carry a distinctive foul smell.

How to avoid Dry Socket

There are several instructions that you should follow after your tooth extraction surgery:

  • Avoid touching the area with your tongue or your fingers as this can stop the protective blood clot layer from forming.
  • A saltwater rinse can help you keep your mouth clean as it heals.
  • Avoid smoking or drinking through a straw. The suction from using a straw can dislodge the blood clot and interrupt the healing process.

Tooth Extraction Aftercare Tips

Alongside avoiding the possibility of dry socket there are some other dos and don'ts after tooth extraction to keep in mind:

  • Steer clear of mouthwash or rinses as these can cause irritation during your tooth extraction healing and avoid hot foods for at least a day after your operation.
  • Steer clear of mouthwash or rinses as these can cause irritation during your tooth extraction healing and avoid hot foods for at least a day after your operation.
  • Finally, as your mouth is healing you should avoid used a hard-bristled toothbrush. Consider using an electric toothbrush equipped with a sensitive mode and an extra-soft bristled brush head for a gentle and controlled brushing experience.


This blog has been reviewed and approved
by Dr Robert Lee, a dental professional of 35 years

Dr. Lee