About Tooth Extractions

A tooth extraction is a surgical procedure in which one or more teeth are removed. There are various reasons why you might need to have a tooth extracted. Learn about what to expect throughout and after your dental treatment.

If you are searching for an Oral Surgeon in Mesa, AZ, Tempe, Show Low, and Queen Creek or an Oral Surgeon near me, we are here for you. To book an appointment with a surgeon at any of our 5 locations, call (480) 830-5866 or complete the online booking form.

Reasons for Pulling Teeth

There are several reasons why you might need to have one or more teeth extracted to maintain optimal oral health. Some common treatment reasons include the following:

Crowded Teeth

If your mouth is too crowded with teeth, you may need to have a tooth or teeth removed to make room to straighten your teeth. This is often done in preparation for braces or other orthodontic treatments. Children may also need a baby tooth removed to make room for permanent teeth.


An infected tooth is a condition in which bacteria have invaded the root canal system of a tooth, leading to an abscess. This can cause pain, swelling, and drainage and make it difficult to eat or speak normally. In severe cases, an infected tooth may need to be extracted to prevent further damage and infection.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is a condition in which the gums and soft tissues around the teeth become inflamed and infected. If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss. In some cases, tooth extraction may be necessary to treat the infection and prevent further bone loss.

Tooth Impaction

An impacted tooth is a tooth that has become trapped or stuck in the jawbone and cannot fully erupt into the mouth. This can happen for various reasons, including overcrowding or unusual growth patterns in the jaw. Tooth sectioning is a procedure used to remove an impacted tooth, which involves cutting the tooth into smaller pieces so it can be removed more easily.

The symptoms of an impacted tooth typically include pain, swelling, and inflammation in the affected area. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, speak with your dentist as soon as possible.

The Procedure

The procedure for having a tooth extracted typically involves making an incision in the gums and removing the tooth from the jawbone. There are 2 types of procedures:

A simple extraction involves:

  • Numbing the area around the tooth with local anesthesia
  • Using a tool called an elevator or extraction forceps to loosen the tooth from its socket
  • Using forceps to remove the tooth

Surgical extraction (Eg. wisdom tooth removal) is more complex and may involve:

  • Numbing the area with local anesthesia and/or IV sedation anesthesia
  • Cutting through the gum tissue to expose the tooth
  • Taking out bone that is blocking access to the tooth root
  • Removing the tooth in pieces
  • Suturing (stitching) the gums shut

Local Anesthesia or Sedation

There are generally three main options when it comes to managing pain during a tooth extraction: local anesthesia, nitrous oxide with local anesthesia, or IV sedation.

Tooth extractions can be performed under local anesthesia, but many patients prefer to be sedated for the procedure to make it a more comfortable experience. With local anesthesia, you will feel the dental injections, but you should not feel any pain during the procedure, only some pressure.

Using nitrous oxide(also called laughing gas) induces an altered consciousness to help you relax and feel more at ease during your extraction. You will still be numbed with local anesthesia for the procedure.

IV sedation is the preferred method of anesthesia by most patients for tooth extraction. You can undergo IV conscious sedation, which is light sedation, or general anesthesia, where you are totally asleep for the procedure.

The right option for you will depend on how complex the extraction will be. Talk to your oral surgeon about which approach might be best for you, and make sure to discuss any questions or concerns you may have about the procedure. With the right care and attention, you can feel confident that your tooth extraction will be a success.

Post-Surgery Care

Following extraction, your oral surgeon will send you home to rest. Recovery generally takes a few days. Following these instructions can reduce discomfort, lower the risk of infection, and speed up the recovery process after a dental extraction.

  • Bite down on a gauze pad with steady pressure on the extraction site to help stop bleeding. Replace the gauze every 30-45 minutes until the bleeding subsides. 
  • Narcotic pain medications may be prescribed for postoperative pain relief. As an alternative for pain control, over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be used to reduce pain and inflammation. If you experience severe pain that is not relieved by pain medication, contact our office.
  • You may experience some swelling or bruising in the days after your tooth extraction. Applying a cold pack or cold compress to the affected area can help to reduce swelling and pain. 
  • After 24 hours, rinse the area with a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water twice daily to keep the area clean,
  • Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages, participating in intense physical activity, and consuming excessive amounts of caffeine or sugar.
  • Avoid drinking through a straw for the first 24 hours. This can cause a painful condition called Dry Socket. Dry Socket happens when the blood clot in the tooth socket becomes dislodged.
  • Eat soft foods like soup, yogurt, smoothies, and oatmeal. Avoid chewy and crunchy foods like carrots, seeds, nuts, and popcorn. When chewing is possible, slowly introduce solid foods. It is also recommended to avoid hot liquids and foods for the first 24 hours after the extraction.


After having a tooth extracted, it is not uncommon for your dentist to place stitches in the extraction site. These stitches help close the wound, decrease bleeding and promote healing.

In most cases, the stitches will dissolve on their own within a week or two and do not require any special care. It is important to avoid any foods and activities that may cause the stitches to get caught or pulled out.

Risks of Tooth Extraction

Although it is a safe and common procedure, there is a risk of complications involved when you have a tooth extracted. Some risks include

  • Damage to the surrounding teeth and gums
  • Infection
  • Nerve damage to the affected area
  • Sinus opening in the upper back teeth
  • Complications with anesthesia
  • Damage to adjacent teeth

Risks can be minimized after dental procedures by following post-surgery instructions, maintaining good dental hygiene, and attending follow-up appointments.

The Best Oral Surgeons in Arizona

At AZ Max, our experienced team of oral surgeons is dedicated to providing you with the best possible experience. Using the most advanced technology and techniques, we ensure your procedure is safe and successful. 

If you are searching for an Oral Surgeon in Mesa, AZ, Tempe, Show Low, and Queen Creek or an Oral Surgeon near me, we are here for you. To book an appointment with a surgeon at any of our 5 locations, call (480) 830-5866 or complete the online booking form.