Tooth Extraction: The FAQ Guide

Dr. Kyle Hornby

Why is tooth extraction necessary?

Your Kitchener Dentist may recommend tooth removal for a number of reasons. In most cases, the Dentist will discuss dental extraction of a tooth that can put your health at risk or when the tooth is not likely to last for much longer. Here are some of the reasons why tooth extraction may be necessary:

  • to rid you of an existing dental infection
  • to reduce dental pain/suffering
  • when your Kitchener-Waterloo Dentist is not able to repair a badly broken tooth
  • when a weak or mobile (“wiggly”) tooth cannot support a patient's partial denture
  • for impacted wisdom teeth that are likely to cause problems
  • to make space for proper alignment with dental braces or Invisalign
  • as part of emergency dental care to relieve infection or pain

How much does it cost to remove a tooth?

Costs for dental extraction vary depending on how difficult the procedure is. A "simple" extraction costs about $150 and this applies when a tooth comes out easily and does not require surgical intervention. A "complicated" or surgical extraction involves adjustment of gums and surrounding jaw bone to enable removal of a broken tooth or root - this costs about $250.

For removal of impacted wisdom teeth, extensive surgical intervention is often necessary. Your Kitchener Dentist will have a fee in the range of $300 - $500 per tooth for this kind of extraction.

How long does it take for healing after tooth removal?

Sometimes, we can give fairly exact answers and sometimes, the answer varies widely according to circumstances. Tooth extraction healing time depends on the complexity of the extraction procedure. Simple, quick extraction? You are likely to experience full healing with socket closure and smooth gum tissue in about 2-3 weeks. Complicated surgical extractions? Well, the gum incisions and adjusted jaw bone need longer to heal and remodel. In these cases it can take 4-6 weeks for complete healing.

In cases where your Kitchener-Waterloo Dentist has completed a bone graft or socket preservation graft, the healing time for regeneration of bone is about 4-5 months.

Healing time also depends on age. For example, a teenager will heal much more quickly than a 70-year old.

Can tooth extraction affect other teeth?

Yes. Tooth extraction can affect other teeth. There can be immediate and long-term effects.

Immediate effects include damage to adjacent teeth during the extraction procedure. This includes possible chipping of Dental Fillings, Dental Crowns and other prosthetics.

Your Kitchener Dentist will notify you of this risk during their pre-treatment informed consent discussion. You will often experience some gum recession around neighbouring teeth after extraction. This can lead to root exposure on adjacent teeth and those teeth may become more sensitive to temperature extremes like hot and cold as a result.

Long-term effects include shifting and tipping of neighbouring teeth. This is a slow process but once you lose a tooth, the adjacent teeth will shift. This can result in spaces that are harder to clean.

The fact that tooth extraction can have negative long-term consequences for neighbouring teeth and your overall health makes tooth replacement options important to many patients. These options include dental implants, dental bridges and single-tooth dentures.

Is tooth extraction necessary for braces and tooth alignment?

Tooth extraction was a more common pre-treatment approach to Orthodontics 15-20 years ago. This was commonly done to make space for alignment in cases of severe tooth crowding. Sometimes, there just isn't enough space to accommodate alignment of all teeth when a patient has a small upper or lower jaw.

It was therefore, common to extract first premolars to make space for alignment. This also made cases easier and sped up completion.

More recently, there has been a movement away from extraction of healthy teeth. In my opinion, this is a good thing. Now, your Kitchener Orthodontist will use other methods for making enough space for all teeth. In some rare cases, an Orthodontist will still recommend extraction of adult premolars.

When is tooth extraction necessary for braces?

Your Kitchener Dentist may recommend tooth extraction to resolve severe crowding prior to Orthodontic treatment. Again, this approach is becoming less common but some Orthodontists may still recommend permanent tooth extraction to create enough space for proper alignment.

Will tooth extraction cure periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease or Periodontitis is a condition where there is loss of jaw bone and gum attachment from around a tooth or multiple teeth. Periodontal disease can, therefore, be either Localized or Generalized.

If there is periodontal disease (loss of bone and gum attachment) within a tooth or in the surrounding gums then, yes, extraction of that tooth will eliminate localized Periodontitis. In General cases, however, extraction of a single tooth will not cure periodontal disease that affects all other teeth.

Will tooth extraction cure local infection?

Yes. Local infection can originate from either the tooth itself or from the surrounding gums (Local Periodontal Disease). In either case, removal of the tooth will eliminate the infection. Your Kitchener Dentist will clean the extraction socket of any contaminated tissue after tooth removal to enable healing.

When can I eat after tooth extraction?

Your Kitchener Dentist will usually advise you to proceed cautiously with eating after an extraction. Generally, you'll want to wait for numbness to wear off to avoid risk of soft tissue injury (i.e. chewing and damaging your lip, tongue or cheek). For a few days, you'll also want to avoid sharp and brittle foods that can cause damage to your extraction site. You may want to choose softer foods but, by no means, should you restrict yourself to a soup or liquid diet.

Don't forget, you need good nutrition for healing properly. So please don't hesitate to eat well post-extraction.

Update: August 26, 2020 - Additional FAQs

Are there any things to consider

Update: August 26, 2020 - Additional FAQs

Are there any things to consider before tooth extraction?

When people are preparing for tooth extraction, they often wonder about tooth replacement options. Some ask about dental bridges while others ask about implants. But are there things you can do at the time of extraction that will make these treatments more successful in the future?

The main procedure I discuss with my patients is socket preservation grafting. A socket preservation graft is inexpensive (approximately $200 - $300) and ensures that you don't lose bone during healing. When you lose bone as the extraction socket heals, you may not have enough for the future placement of a dental implant. Bone loss may also diminish the esthetics of a dental bridge.

If you wait to graft bone later, the procedure is different, more complex and therefore more costly (about $1,000).

For this reason, I recommend that you ask your Kitchener Dentist about socket preservation procedures.

By Dr. Kyle Hornby, Kitchener Dentist

Our Kitchener Dental Office is conveniently located in Downtown Kitchener and we are a short drive away for families in Waterloo, Breslau & St. Jacobs. Our central location means we truly offer family dentistry near you!

This article is meant to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Accordingly, always seek the advice of your Kitchener Dentist or other healthcare provider regarding a dental condition or treatment.

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