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Tooth Removal / Extraction

If a tooth has been broken or damaged by decay, your dentist will try to fix it with a filling, crown or other dental treatment. But when there's too much damage for the tooth to be repaired, the tooth may need to be extracted — or removed — from its socket in the bone.

Tooth Removal Procedures, there are two types of extractions:

  • A Simple Extraction – this procedure is on a tooth that can be seen in the mouth. For a simple extraction, the dentist loosens the tooth with an instrument called an elevator. Then the dentist uses forceps to remove the tooth.
  • A surgical extraction – this is a more complex procedure, which is used if a tooth may have broken off at the gum line or has not erupted in the mouth. The oral surgeon will make a small incision into your gum to surgically remove the broken tooth or impacted wisdom tooth.
  • Preparation:

    Your dentist or oral surgeon will take an X-ray of the area to help plan the best way to remove the tooth. Be sure to provide your full medical and dental history and a list of all medicines you take. This should include both prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins and supplements.

    You may have intravenous (IV) anesthesia, which can range from conscious sedation to general anesthesia. Most simple extractions can be done using just an injection (a local anesthetic). You may or may not receive drugs to help you relax. For a surgical extraction, you will receive a local anesthetic, and you may also have anesthesia through a vein (intravenous). Some people may need general anesthesia. They include patients with specific medical or behavioral conditions and young children.

    During a tooth extraction, you can expect to feel pressure, but no pain. Once the tooth has been pulled, a blood clot usually forms in the socket. The dentist will pack a gauze pad into the socket and have you bite down on it to help stop the bleeding. Sometimes the dentist will place a few stitches to close the gum edges over the extraction site. Although having a tooth pulled is usually very safe, the procedure can allow harmful bacteria into the bloodstream. Gum tissue is also at risk of infection. If you have a condition that puts you at high risk for developing a severe infection, you may need to take antibiotics before and after the extraction.

    Before having a tooth pulled, let your dentist know your complete medical history, the medications and supplements you take, and if you have one of the following:

  • Damaged or man-made heart valves
  • Congenital heart defect
  • Impaired immune system
  • Liver disease (cirrhosis)
  • Artificial joint, such as a hip replacement
  • History of bacterial endocarditis

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