Tooth Extraction in Adults: What You Must Know

When you are an adult, a tooth extraction is sometimes necessary. This procedure is done primarily to remove a tooth that is causing problems and pain from its place in the bone.

Despite being a popular and simple dental procedure, few people would have extensive knowledge about the procedure.

Read further to learn more about tooth extraction in adults.

4 Reasons for Having Your Tooth Pulled

Despite the fact that permanent teeth should last a lifetime, there are several reasons for your dentist in Blackheath to prescribe this dental procedure. Here are some of them.

1. Infection

If tooth damage or decay has reached the pulp, which is the center of your tooth that contains the blood vessels and nerves, an infection can happen. Root canal therapy can solve this issue, but only if it’s minor. When the infection is incurable, extraction is the only solution.

 In fact, even a risk for infection can be enough reason to remove your permanent tooth. So if you have a compromised immune system, perhaps because you are undergoing chemotherapy or have undergone an organ transplant, your dentist may suggest pulling out your tooth.

2. Gum disease

Also known as periodontal disease, an infection of your gums and bones that support your teeth can loosen your teeth. Thus, tooth extraction may be necessary to prevent potential aspiration.

3. Crowded mouth

There are times when dentists suggest pulling permanent teeth for orthodontia, a branch of dentistry that deals with teeth and jaw abnormalities. So if your tooth can’t erupt because there is insufficient room in your mouth, your dentist may need to pull a nearby tooth so the other teeth can break through your gums.

4. Tooth Impaction

In addition to an overcrowded mouth, a tooth becomes impacted if the jaw has insufficient room for more teeth or the tooth erupts at an odd angle. Unfortunately, extraction is the only solution for impacted teeth.

How Tooth Extraction Is Done

Tooth extraction is classified into two – simple and surgical.

Simple Extraction

For a tooth that has erupted, a simple extraction is done. Dentists will loosen the tooth using an elevator and remove the tooth with forceps. Expect to feel a slow and steady pressure while the dentist removes your tooth. Once the tooth is removed, your dentist will ask you to bite down on a gauze pad to stop the bleeding.

Surgical Extraction

For a tooth that hasn’t erupted yet, a surgical extraction is performed. A small cut will be made into your gums to expose the tooth. Sometimes, some of the bone around the affected tooth will be removed to extract it as a whole, or the tooth will be cut into half for faster and easier removal. The incision will then be closed with several self-dissolving stitches. This is basically what happens during a wisdom tooth removal.

Post Extraction Care

For a speedy recovery, you must closely follow the aftercare instructions provided by your dentist. And these include:

  • Taking pain medications as prescribed
  • Changing the gauze pad before it becomes soaked with blood
  • Consuming cool and soft foods and beverages for several days
  • Applying cold compress right after extraction to relieve swelling and pain
  • Relaxing for the next 24 hours and limiting physical activities for the next day or two
  • Not using a straw and not spitting after surgery to avoid dislodging the blood clot that has formed in the socket
  • Not smoking, as this inhibits the healing process
  • Supporting your head with pillows when lying down because lying flat might prolong the bleeding
  • Practicing proper dental hygiene to prevent cavities and infection

When to Call Your Dentist

Pain is normal once the effect of the anesthesia wears off. Expect also some residual bleeding and swelling within 24 hours post extraction. But if bleeding persists and pain becomes intolerable, call your dentist immediately.

In addition, call your dentist if you experience any of the following:

  • Fever and chills
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath

The initial healing period can last for up to two weeks where new gum tissue grows into the gap. But eventually, your remaining teeth may shift if you have a missing tooth, and this can negatively affect your bite.

Luckily, there are modern dental care treatments you can choose from. For instance, you can replace the missing tooth with a dental bridge, denture or a dental implant. Talk to your dentist to determine which of these solutions best suits you.


Dr. Michael Letham is the owner and dentist at 24/7 Dental and Bayside Smiles. He graduated from Sydney University in 2000 with Honours, receiving the R Morse Withycombe Prize for Proficiency in Clinical Periodontics (gum treatment). Striving to provide a modern, holistic approach to dental care that is tailored to each individual’s requirements, Mike’s focus is on being thorough and meticulous whilst being caring and compassionate.


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