A dental extraction is the removal of teeth from the mouth. Extractions are often required because of tooth decay or dental trauma (for example, if a tooth has been chipped or cracked). Extraction can also be performed prophylactically if a future problem is likely.
But how long does a tooth extraction take?
The length of a tooth extraction procedure depends on several factors. The most important of these is the condition of the tooth itself.
For example, if a tooth has been severely damaged by decay or trauma, or if the tooth is impacted, it may be necessary to remove more than just the top portion of the tooth. In such cases, more of the root structure and some gum tissue will be needed to remove the entire tooth.
Every case is different based on its unique circumstances and the variables involved. Tooth extraction may be classified as a simple or standard extraction or a surgical extraction.
Simple or Standard Extractions
What is a simple or standard dental extraction?
A simple or standard dental extraction is the removal of a tooth or teeth by a dentist. It involves using a dental instrument known as an elevator to break through the gums around the tooth and then extractor forceps to remove it from the jaw. A standard extraction takes 30 minutes or less.
What can I expect after my simple/standard dental extraction?
You may experience some swelling during the first 24 hours following treatment, which can be controlled with ice packs applied to your face (do not apply pressure). Bleeding should stop within 48 hours or sooner.
After a standard dental extraction, you may have some amount of pain and swelling for up to two weeks. However, this generally subsides within ten days.
A surgical dental extraction is a procedure that involves the removal of teeth by cutting through the gums and bone. This type of procedure is usually performed when non-surgical methods are not effective in removing the tooth.
The most common reason for a surgical extraction is an abscessed tooth, which requires the removal of the entire tooth and surrounding tissue to ensure that the infection has been eliminated.
Other reasons for a surgical extraction include:
- Open-root fractures—A fracture in which the tooth’s root has been damaged beyond repair.
- Impacted teeth—Teeth that grow in at an angle or sideways rather than straight up through the gum line
- Severe decay—If there is significant decay around the tooth, it may be necessary to remove the entire tooth and surrounding bone to prevent further damage.
A surgical dental extraction is typically performed under general anesthesia. The process can take between 30 minutes and an hour, sometimes longer depending on the complexity of the case and the number of teeth being removed.
After the surgery, your mouth will be swollen and sore, but this will subside gradually over the next 10-14 days.
Aftercare Following Tooth Extraction
The aftercare following tooth extraction determines how long the recovery process takes.
The first 24 hours are critical, as this is when your body begins healing. The more closely you follow your dentist’s aftercare instructions, the faster and easier your recovery will be.
Here are some tips to help you get through the first 24 hours:
- Keep your head elevated.
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, for any discomfort.
- Drink plenty of water and eat soft-food meals until you’ve sufficiently healed or until your next appointment.
Learn More About Tooth Extractions
Understanding what to expect from your tooth extraction appointment and the necessary aftercare can help you feel more at ease about the procedure.If you’d like to learn more about tooth extractions, contact us today at 212-888-4140 to schedule an appointment for a consultation with one of our dentists.