Your dentist may determine that you need a tooth extraction for any number of reasons: severe decay, advanced periodontal disease, or an irreparable crack. An extraction may also be needed if teeth are poorly positioned or if you need preparation for orthodontic treatment.  Loss of a tooth can lead to chewing problems, jaw joint issues, or shifting teeth that can impact your overall dental health.  We will discuss alternatives to extractions first, and, if extractions are necessary, provide options for replacing your missing teeth.

the extraction process

First, we numb the tooth and the jawbone and gums surrounding the tooth to be extracted with a local anesthetic.  The tooth is rocked side-to-side to widen the socket to ease tooth removal.  You will feel pressure at this point, but no pain.  If pain is felt, please let us know immediately so that we can remedy the issue by adding more local anesthetic to the area.  The tooth is then removed after the socket is widened sufficiently.

sectioning a tooth

Some teeth are so well anchored in their socket or have roots that are so curved or broken that the socket can’t expand enough for removal.  In such a scenario, sectioning may be required.  Your dentist cuts the tooth into sections and then removes each section one at a time, sometimes removing a small amount of gum or bone around the tooth as well.

recovery & aftercare treatment

After any dental surgery, home care is important. Here we have listed several tips on how to take care of the healing area while at home:


If bleeding occurs, place moist gauze over empty socket and bite down firmly for 20-30 minutes, changing the gauze as needed.  You may also bite down on a damp teabag (any kind of black tea) to stop the bleeding as there are ingredients in tea that help clotting.

blood clots in empty socket

Be careful not to dislodge clots. They help the healing process, so be sure to avoid:

  • Forcefully rinsing or spitting for 24 hours
  • Using straws, smoking, or hot liquids


If swelling occurs (and it often doesn’t for straightforward extractions) you may place ice or even a bag of frozen vegetables on your face for 10 minutes and off for 20 minutes. Repeat as necessary for 24 hours.

pain & medication

For mild to moderate pain, we recommend using non-prescription pain relief medications like ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol). Ibuprofen and acetaminophen can be used together for optimal pain relief (i.e. taking 600mg of Ibuprofen every 4-6 hours and then 500mg of acetaminophen every 4-6 hours).  As these medications work on different pain pathways, you will not overdose if you take them both at the same time.

eating & drinking

Chew on the opposite side of the extraction area.  Avoid alcohol and carbonated beverages for 24 hours.  A soft diet avoiding foods like chips and nuts that can get stuck in the tooth socket is advised.

brushing & cleaning

Do not brush teeth near extraction area for one day; afterwards you can resume gentle tooth brushing.  Avoid commercial mouth rinses as they often contain alcohol that can irritate the extraction site.  Begin gently rinsing with salt water (1/2 teaspoon in a cup of water) 12 hours after the tooth extraction.  Rinse after meals and before bed.

dry socket

When a blood clot fails to form in the empty socket or the clot has been dislodged, a dry socket forms and delays the healing process.  Following our aftercare instructions can reduce the chances of a dry socket.  Dry sockets create a dull throbbing pain and don’t appear until three or four days after extraction.  Pain can be moderate to severe, radiating from the extraction site.  A dry socket can also cause bad taste or bad breath while the extraction site appears dry.  If you think you have a dry socket, please call our office and your dentist will apply a medicated dressing to the dry socket to soothe the pain.


A hole is left in the jawbone once a tooth has been extracted.  It will become covered over with gum tissue over the next few weeks and then it will fill in with bone over several months.

tooth replacement

You may find you would like to replace an extracted tooth or teeth for functional or aesthetic reasons, or both.  Some options for tooth replacement include an implant, a bridge, or a partial or complete denture.  As every patient is unique, your individualized options for tooth replacement will be explained to you by one of our dentists prior to any tooth extractions.


If you are experiencing any serious problems following an extraction please contact our office immediately at 780-430-8118. An after-hours phone number is available on our answering machine for emergencies.


General Dentist, Family Dentist

360 Bulyea Road NW
Edmonton, AB, t6R 2B3


Monday: 9:00AM – 6:00pm
Tuesday – Wednesday: 7:00AM – 6:00PM
Thursday: 7:00AM – 4:30PM
Friday: 7:00AM – 2:00PM