What You Need to Know About Emergency Tooth Extractions

How long does a tooth extraction take? Do people feel pain after the procedure? Our Edmonton dentists answer these and other common questions about emergency tooth extractions.

To many people, a tooth extraction is one of the most dreaded dental health procedures. While a dentist will aim to save a tooth if at all possible to preserve your oral health and reduce risk of further long-term complications, in some circumstances, extreme discomfort or injury occurs to a tooth, causing a dental emergency and potentially, precipitating the need for a tooth extraction. 

Tooth extractions are performed with anesthetic and most patients will not experience long-term complications as a result of the procedure. If you ever require emergency dental care where tooth extraction is required, you'll likely have questions. Our Edmonton dentists will aim to address some common questions and concerns about tooth extraction in this post. 

When is emergency tooth extraction required?

When a dentist recommends emergency tooth extraction, this is usually because no other treatment option will be sufficient to treat your current problem and prevent future oral health issues. The only solution is to completely remove the tooth. 

Typical reasons for a tooth extraction include:

  • Irreparable tooth decay 
  • A wisdom tooth is impacted 
  • The pulp has become infected (root canal would be ineffective)
  • Severe dental trauma, typically due to an accident
  • Bone surrounding the tooth has eroded 
  • A tooth or tooth root has been fractured
  • Baby teeth have not fallen out in time to allow for permanent teeth to erupt as they should
  • Wisdom teeth are emerging and crowding other teeth in your mouth
  • Orthodontic treatment (extraction may be needed so teeth will have room to straighten during treatment with braces) 

What does the emergency tooth extraction procedure involve?

This relatively quick, common and painless procedure will only require local anesthetic to numb the extraction site. The dentist may use a strong general anesthetic in some circumstances to help you sleep through the procedure. The tooth is loosened before it's pulled from the socket. 

Once the tooth has been removed, a blood clot will develop inside the socket. To help stop bleeding, your dentist will place a gauze pad into the socket. Sometimes, a few self-dissolving stitches will be needed to close the gum edges over the extraction site. 

How should I prepare for a tooth extraction?

Before your dentist performs the extraction, you'll be asked about your medical and dental history. Notify them about any existing medical conditions, recent procedures or allergies. They'll need to know if you're currently taking medication such as contraception, over-the-counter medicines or inhalers. 

Let your dentist know if you suffer from any of these conditions:

  • Diabetes
  • Liver and thyroid disease
  • Hypertension 
  • Impaired immune system 
  • Artificial joints

If the procedure is scheduled, you should:

  • Avoid smoking before and after
  • Plan to get a ride home if you're receiving any type of sedation 
  • Let your dentist know if you experience nausea or vomiting the night before - you may need to reschedule
  • Notify your dentist if you have the flu before your appointment - you may need to reschedule 

How long does a tooth extraction take?

The amount of time your tooth extraction takes will depend on a number of factors, such as the nature of the problem, whether a single tooth or multiple teeth need to be pulled, and others. The procedure may take as little as 20 to 40 minutes. 

Some people wonder, "How long does wisdom teeth removal take?" Some tooth extractions involve removing impacted wisdom teeth. In general, most people can expect to spend between 45 minutes and 2 hours at an appointment for this type of extraction. This includes the time it takes to numb the area with anesthetic, extract the teeth and administer post-operative care. 

What to Do After an Emergency Tooth Extraction

Recovery time from this procedure may vary depending on the nature of your dental issue, the type of extraction and the location of the tooth. There are a few steps you can take following a tooth extraction to assist recovery and reduce the risk of complications. 

After the extraction, you'll receive detailed instructions about what to expect and any actions you should take. Helpful tips are as follows:

  • For 30 minutes following surgery, bite down on a piece of gauze to help stem bleeding. If heavy bleeding continues, bite down on a cotton pad for another 10 minutes. Contact your dentist if heavy bleeding persists. 
  • Starting 24 hours after the procedure, gently rinse with warm salt water to keep the area clean. 
  • Avoid smoking for 72 hours after your procedure. 
  • Apply an ice pack on your cheeks as instructed to help alleviate swelling. 
  • For the first couple of days, eat soft, cool foods such as pudding, yogurt and ice cream. 
  • Avoid strenuous activities and exercise for the first couple of days to aid your recovery.
  • Avoid using a straw, spitting or rinsing for the first 24 hours to allow the blood clot to form.

Ask your dentist any questions about at-home care before you leave the clinic. 

How long does pain after wisdom tooth extraction last?

Most extractions heal in 7 to 10 days. While complications are rare, watch out for the following after your procedure and contact your dentist if any of these occur:

  • Severe pain or discomfort 
  • Prolonged bleeding or swelling 
  • High temperature

In some cases, a blood clot may not develop around the extraction site. This is known as dry socket and it usually occurs 2 to 4 days after extraction. The condition can trigger extreme pain. If this happens, we recommend contacting our Edmonton dentists as soon as possible. They will disinfect the site, apply dressing and potentially prescribe antibiotics to prevent infection. 

Emergency Tooth Extractions at Emergency Dental Clinics

If you find that pain or discomfort has you distracted from work, school or other activities, or that you've had one or more teeth injured in an accident, get to our office as soon as possible. Our dentists can assess a variety of issues that require emergency dental care and recommend treatment options, including a tooth extraction, if necessary. 

Do you have tooth pain or suspect you may need an extraction? Contact our Edmonton dentists right away. We can examine the problem and recommend treatment options.

Have a dental emergency in Edmonton? We're here on weekends and after hours to help.

Dental emergencies always happen when you least expect them. Our friendly and experienced dental team is on call to assist you when you need us most.

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