by EBSCO Medical Review Board


This surgery is done to remove a tooth.

Surgical Removal of a Tooth
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Reasons for Procedure

This procedure may be done to remove a tooth that:

  • Is too badly damaged or decayed to be saved by a root canal
  • Has an infected nerve
  • Is affecting normal tooth growth
  • Is loose due to gum disease
  • Has a loss of supporting bone, gums, or tissue

Possible Complications

Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:

  • Excess bleeding
  • Problems from anesthesia
  • Infection
  • Nerve damage
  • Dry socket—when a blood clot does not form in the tooth socket

Things that may raise the risk of problems are:

  • Smoking
  • Chronic health problems, such as diabetes

What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

Your dentist will meet with you to talk about:

  • Anesthesia options
  • Any allergies you may have
  • Current medicines, herbs, and supplements that you take and whether you need to stop taking them before the procedure
  • Fasting before the procedure, such as avoiding food or drink after midnight the night before
  • Arranging a ride to and from the procedure


The doctor may give:

  • A sedative—you will feel relaxed
  • Local anesthesia—the area will be numbed
  • General anesthesia—you will be asleep

Description of the Procedure

If the tooth is covered by gum tissue, a cut will be made to access the tooth. Forceps will be used to grasp the tooth. They will be used to rock it back and forth to loosen it. The tooth will be pulled. A blood clot will form in the empty socket. A gauze pad will be packed into the socket. In some people, stitches may be used to close the gum edges.

Immediately After Procedure

You will be asked to bite firmly but gently on the gauze pad. This will promote clotting.

How Long Will It Take?

20 to 40 minutes

Will It Hurt?

Anesthesia will prevent pain during the procedure. Pain and swelling are common in the first few days. Medicine and home care can help.

Post-procedure Care

At the Care Center

Right after the procedure, the dentist may give you pain medicine.

At Home

It will take about two weeks to fully heal. Physical activity may be limited during this time. People who smoke will need to avoid smoking to promote proper healing. You may need to delay your return to work.

Problems to Look Out For

Call the dentist if you are not getting better or you have:

  • Signs of infection, such as fever and chills
  • Redness, swelling, a lot of bleeding, or any discharge around the tooth
  • Severe pain or pain that you cannot control with medicine
  • Bad breath or a bad odor coming from your mouth
  • Loss of the blood clot from the tooth socket
  • New or worsening symptoms

If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.


Mouth Healthy—American Dental Association 

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research 


Canadian Dental Association 

Dental Hygiene Canada 


Extractions. Mouth Healthy—American Dental Association website. Available at: Accessed April 21, 2022.

Medication-related osteonecrosis of the jaw (MRONJ). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed April 21, 2022.

Tooth decay. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research website. Available at: Accessed April 21, 2022.

Revision Information