What is a surgical extraction?

There are many reasons why your dentist or oral surgeon might recommend a tooth extraction, for both medical and cosmetic results. In this post, we’ll explain how a surgical extraction works and what you can expect from the procedure.

Simple versus surgical extraction

When the tooth that needs to be removed is fully exposed in the mouth, a simple extraction will typically be performed. With a simple extraction, an elevator and dental forceps are used under local anesthetic to loosen and remove the tooth. When there are complications such as a fracture below the gumline, or if the tooth has not yet or only partially erupted through the gums, a surgical extraction will be required.

Exposing the tooth

The first step in a surgical extraction is to make a small incision in the gum tissue to expose the tooth. Depending on the location of the tooth and other factors, the tooth may be extracted at this time using the same technique as a simple extraction.

Fragmenting the tooth

In cases where the tooth cannot be immediately extracted with an elevator and dental forceps, it may be fragmented into smaller pieces that are easier for the oral surgeon to remove.

Local or general anesthetic

The type of anesthetic used for a surgical extraction will depend on the location of the tooth, number of teeth to be extracted, and the severity of the complication. For example, impacted wisdom teeth usually require general anesthetic for the procedure. Your oral surgeon will explain the best anesthesia option for your surgical extraction during your initial consultation.

Following your surgical extraction

After the extraction you will be asked to bite down on a piece of gauze for twenty to thirty minutes to help the bleeding stop and to encourage the formation of a blood clot. You will also be given medication to manage discomfort and special instructions for care during the healing period. An ice pack can be used to reduce swelling during the first 24 hours. You will be asked to eat only soft foods for a few days.

Replacing your missing tooth

If your tooth extraction leaves a gap in your smile, your oral surgeon will discuss tooth replacement options, including a dental implant.