When it comes to tooth decay, gum disease, or injuries, tooth extractions (tooth pulling) may be the best option. If left untreated, a tooth in need of extraction can cause severe pain and infection. Continue reading to learn about common causes of tooth extractions, after care, and your options afterward!

How Do I Know If I Need a Tooth Extracted?

A dentist will have to examine your mouth (usually with an x-ray) in order to determine if a tooth needs to be extracted. If you have the following symptoms, you should schedule an appointment:

  • Sensitivity to hot or cold
  • Temperatures Loose teeth
  • Swelling in the mouth
  • Bleeding gums
  • Pain
  • Pain when chewing
  • Cracked or damaged teeth
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold
  • Temperatures Loose teeth
  • Swelling in the mouth
  • Bleeding gums
  • Pain
  • Pain when chewing
  • Cracked or damaged teeth

Treatments Available

Tooth Decay

Caused by dental plaque and buildup, tooth decay can become so severe that the tooth cannot be saved with fillings or root canals. If an infection occurs as a result of the decay and antibiotics can’t treat it, a dentist will have to carefully remove the tooth.


If a filling has fallen out of a tooth, the tissue of the tooth can be exposed. The affected tooth could be left sensitive and painful.

Fractured Tooth/Teeth

Fractured or cracked teeth can result from chewing on hard foods or habits like grinding. When you’ve had a large filling or a root canal, you can be at greater risk of a fractured tooth. A tooth that has been fractured below the gum line needs to be extracted immediately.

Teeth Crowding

If you have more teeth than what can comfortably fit in your mouth, a tooth extraction might be called for. The removal or extra teeth can also help the other teeth settle into their proper place.

Periodontal Disease

Gum disease destroys the structure of the bones, gums, and tissue of the mouth, loosening the teeth. As a result, a dentist will have to remove the loose teeth.

Wisdom Teeth Extraction

An impacted wisdom tooth is another reason for an extraction. Wisdom teeth are the third molars that erupt during your teens and twenties. In many cases, people can keep their wisdom teeth.

For others, there may not be room in their mouths and the wisdom tooth will start pushing other teeth or become impacted. An x-ray can reveal a wisdom tooth that has been stuck under the gum line.

Wisdom teeth extractions are performed when there is swelling, decay, pain, and infection. When an impacted wisdom tooth isn’t extracted, the following problems can result:

  • Bacteria can get trapped under the gum and lead to infection.
  • In rare cases, cysts and tumors can develop at the site of impacted teeth.
  • Nearby teeth can be affected by tooth decay, tooth crowding and gum disease.

After an Extraction:

Aftercare and Your Options

The dentist’s course of action for an extraction will depend on the severity of the issue. After numbing your mouth, the dentist may use surgery to remove the tooth. Afterwards, the healing process can take place and you’ll need to take care of your mouth.

In particular, you must keep the blood clot in place at the site of extraction. Dislodging the clot can result in a painful condition called dry socket.

Aftercare for extractions can include:

  • Taking prescribed medications and painkillers
  • Keeping gauze in for a few hours after the procedure
    Avoiding spitting or rinsing for a few hours to avoid dislodging the clot
  • Carefully brushing the teeth to avoid infection while avoiding the clot
  • Rinsing with a salt and water solution 24 hours after the procedure

Worried About Your Smile?

After having an extraction, you don’t have to live with a missing tooth forever. In fact, not replacing a missing tooth can lead to further problems such as shifting in surrounding teeth and loss of bone density.

You have multiple options for replacing teeth:

Dental Implants

Dental implants serve as anchors for crowns. Placed in the upper or lower jaw, implants act like your natural teeth and serve as a stable replacement for teeth.

During the procedure, the implants are placed in the jawbone and the bone grows around the implant as you heal. A crown is placed on top wither immediately or after the healing process is complete.


Partial dentures consisting of a base with replacement teeth can be placed in your mouth. Sometimes fixed with a clasp, partials are fitted to avoid sores from developing.

Fixed Bridges

Unlike dentures, bridges are cemented in place and can’t be removed without a dental procedure. To create a bridge, a dentist will prepare your mouth by cutting down the teeth surrounding the extraction gap. Then, the dentist will take an impression that will be sent to a lab where a bridge will be created from glass-ceramics, metal or ceramics.

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