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Tooth Extraction 101: What to Expect

Shaking in your boots at the thought of an upcoming extraction? You’re not alone – most dental patients dread oral surgery. But those who approach it the right way will find the experience turns out to be a pleasant one. You’re not a slave to your dental anxiety, and learning more about what the experience will really be like goes a long way toward quieting fears.


Below, we’ve put together a guide with answers to our most-asked tooth extraction questions. Chances are, yours is somewhere in this list – and if it isn’t, take this opportunity to get in touch. We want you to feel as comfortable as possible before your appointment. And communicating with your dentist is the simplest way to accomplish that.

Why does my tooth need to be extracted?

Each patient’s extraction is unique. Remember that many extractions are performed out of a need to prevent potential dental problems, not remove current ones. Yours is likely being pulled due to one or more of these factors, especially if the tooth/teeth in question is a wisdom tooth:

Do all wisdom teeth need to be extracted?

Some wisdom teeth are safe to keep, but you need to be careful moving forward. There’s always the possibility that they could become problematic in the future. It’s important to schedule regular exams so that your dentist can monitor your mouth for signs of growing issues. If your wisdom teeth fall into these categories, they may be fine remaining in your mouth:

What type of tooth extraction will I receive?

There are two types of extractions:

Why do I have wisdom teeth?

It’s common to wonder why we have to deal with such frustrating (and seemingly useless) structures. The truth is, scientists are still evaluating exactly why we have third molars. Some believe that they are vestigial structures, left over from an earlier evolutionary standpoint. Since our ancestors lived off a very different diet than we do today, with more coarse, rough food, they required additional teeth.


Wisdom teeth are the final teeth to develop and erupt, so they typically don’t show up in the mouth until the age of 17-25. Some people never get wisdom teeth, and others get anywhere from 1-4. Scientists still aren’t sure exactly why this is.

What will my extraction be like?

Depending on whether you’re receiving a simple or surgical extraction, the procedure will be a little different. The typical steps include:

Will I receive anesthesia or sedation before extraction?

Anesthesia is always provided prior to extraction so that you will not experience pain during treatment. If you have dental anxiety or other concerns about your procedure, sedation might be a good idea. Let us know if you have a history of dental anxiety and we’ll discuss your options. This needs to be done before the day of your extraction so that we can provide the necessary medication, so get in touch to learn more.

What will the healing process and downtime be like?

You will feel sore and will need to be careful eating and drinking. Follow the aftercare instructions we provide, and make sure to do the following:

After extraction, what’s the next step?

That depends on your treatment plan – the process is different for everyone. If you had wisdom teeth removed, there likely won’t be anything to do after healing. If you had another tooth removed, you may be moving on to a dental implant and restoration, or receiving orthodontic treatment. Keep up with your dental appointments to stay on track!

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