Expert General Dentist, Dr. Patrick Williams, Explains Reasons You Might Need a Tooth Extracted

An injury to the mouth, an infection, or significant decay may require you to have one or more teeth extracted by an oral surgeon. Other common reasons for pulling teeth include the growth of wisdom teeth that have no room to come in, or to make room for teeth to shift during orthodontic treatment. Below, Dr. Patrick Williams, a successful general dentist, describes what you can expect during common tooth extraction procedures.

Wisdom Teeth:

Not everyone gets wisdom teeth, but those who do typically have them push up through the gums in the early adult years. Wisdom teeth attempt to erupt behind the last set of molars. This can cause numerous problems, especially if the wisdom teeth become impacted. That means they grow in at odd angles due to the molar teeth blocking their path. Impacted wisdom teeth can lead to infections, tooth decay, gum disease, and oral tumors in severe cases.

On the day of your wisdom teeth extraction surgery, your dentist provides you with anesthesia to ensure you stay as comfortable as possible. He or she uses dental extraction tools to dislodge and then remove the wisdom teeth. The next step is to place a clean gauze pad over the empty socket to control post-surgical bleeding. The dental staff should provide you with instructions on when to change the gauze pad and how to manage pain at home. You should plan to follow a soft diet for a few days as you recover from the extraction of your wisdom teeth.


Sometimes an infection in a tooth is so significant that extracting it is a better option than trying to save it with a restorative dentistry procedure. This helps to prevent the infection from spreading to other teeth. Infected teeth typically occur due to an abscess, which means severe decay exists at the tooth’s root or between the tooth and gums. Other causes of abscessed teeth include gingivitis, gum disease, and trauma to the tooth such as a sudden blow to the face.

As with wisdom teeth, your dentist gives you a shot of anesthesia at the start of the procedure. After extracting the tooth, he or she will apply stitches if necessary. You will need to bite down on a clean gauze pad for several minutes until the bleeding is under control. After you get home, replace the gauze pad before it becomes completely soaked with blood. Non-prescription painkillers and an ice pack are generally adequate to control pain. You can rinse your mouth with warm salt water 24 hours after the extraction. This helps to relieve both pain and swelling.

Routine Extractions:

You may need a tooth extracted for orthodontic or cosmetic purposes. It’s common for orthodontists to remove one or two crowded teeth to make room for the remaining teeth to shift during treatment. Perhaps you have an extra tooth that serves no useful purpose and makes you feel self-conscious when you smile.

Whatever your reason for needing a tooth extracted, your dentist follows the same procedure as he or she does for wisdom teeth and infected teeth. This includes administering anesthesia before the procedure and controlling bleeding immediately afterward. You will need to take extra care at home not to damage the empty tooth socket. Be sure to avoid getting food particles stuck in it and brushing over it during your normal oral healthcare routine. This may require you to chew all food on the opposite side of your mouth for at least several days.

Tooth extraction is a type of oral surgery. Your dentist should thoroughly explain the reasons for removing teeth and answer any questions you have before the procedure.

About Dr. Patrick Williams:

Dr. Patrick Williams is a general dentist with a remarkably diverse skillset. A graduate of the University of Florida College of Dentistry, he has never stopped learning throughout 17 years of practice. Dr. Williams is certified in cutting-edge dental technologies, maintaining fellowships in such prestigious organizations as the Academy of General Dentistry and the International Congress of Oral Implantologists, among others.

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