Added by Natalie Asmussen on | Reviewed by Marta Worona

Why are teeth removed?

Tooth extraction is a very common procedure among both adults and kids and may need to be carried out for a variety of reasons. Despite the ubiquity of this procedure, it can still be a frightening prospect if you need to have a tooth removed.In order to help you feel more informed about the process, in this article we’ll go over some important information such as:

  • Reasons for tooth extraction
  • Tooth extraction procedure
  • How to prepare for a tooth extraction
  • Tooth extraction aftercare
  • Potential tooth extraction problems
Tooth Extraction

Tooth extraction is a common dental procedure among both young and older people due to different reasons such as tooth abscess, infection, periodontal disease or decay.


We hope that with this information, you’ll feel more confident about your upcoming procedure, prepared with the knowledge you need to do right by your oral health.

There are a number of reasons why your dentist may recommend a tooth extraction. Let’s have a look at some of the main reasons now.

 Tooth abscess and tooth infection

If you have a tooth abscess, you have probably noticed some symptoms like extreme tooth abscess pain, or swelling around the affected tooth. Let’s take a more in depth look at just what a tooth abscess is.

What is an abscess?

Human mouths are full of bacteria, both good and bad. This bacteria forms a sticky film on your teeth called plaque. Plaque can be removed by proper brushing and flossing, but if not completely removed, the bacteria that live in the plaque can create an acid that will eat away at your tooth enamel. Once the enamel is weakened, a cavity can form and that bacteria can enter the cavity and spread all the way down to the root, causing an infection or an abscess. Once that happens, a collection of pus can form inside your teeth. Some tooth abscess symptoms are like normal toothache symptoms, while others are much more intense.

They include:

  • Terrible toothache pain
  • Red and swollen gums
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold
  • Bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth
  • Fever
    Difficulty swallowing

If you have any of these symptoms of an abscess in your tooth, it’s important to see your dentist as soon as possible to stop the infection from spreading, and help relieve your pain. There are three types of dental abscess, which we will look into a bit more below.

Broken sad tooth

If you suffering from terrible tooth pain, swollen gums or fewer it may be the symptom of an abscess in your tooth and it’s important to see your dentist as soon as possible to stop the infection from spreading,

Gingival abscess: A gingival abscess is focused in the area of the gum that is closest to the base of your tooth. This type of abscess is often caused by food or by impact on the gum area that surrounds the affected tooth.
Periodontal abscess: This is an advanced kind of gum abscess and can happen when a tooth has a periodontal pocket and a certain amount of bone loss. It can also be caused by food or impact from a foreign object.
Periapical abscess: A periapical abscess begins in the soft pulp of the tooth. This type of tooth infection spreads from the tooth to the surrounding gum tissue.

 Tooth abscess treatment

If you have a tooth abscess, you may be wondering how to get rid of a tooth abscess without going to the dentist. Well, the answer is that there is no tooth abscess home treatment except for temporary measures that you can take to relieve tooth infection pain while you’re waiting to see your dentist.

For tooth abscess pain relief fast, you can take over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen or paracetamol. But again, this is just a bandaid to help reduce that throbbing tooth pain you might be suffering from.

If you have an abscessed tooth, immediate treatment by a professional is imperative. In order to treat an abscess, your dentist may perform the following steps:

  • Open and drain the abscess
  • Perform a root canal if the tooth can be saved
  • Extract the affected tooth if it cannot be saved
  • Prescribe antibiotics

It’s important to follow your dentist’s instructions following dental abscess treatment. They are likely to prescribe antibiotics for tooth infection, and you must continue taking the amount of dental antibiotics prescribed by your dentist, even if you start to feel better and your tooth infection symptoms disappear.

If you don’t seek treatment for your tooth abscess, your infected tooth could spread and become a jaw infection, and cause even more health concerns.

Another type of dental infection that may cause you to require extraction could be a wisdom tooth infection. We’ll talk more about wisdom teeth infection and wisdom tooth abscess in the following section.

Wisdom tooth extraction

If you have had or will have to have your wisdom teeth removed, you are in good company. Wisdom tooth extraction is one of the most common surgical procedures performed in the UK. Wisdom teeth are those teeth that grow at the very back of your gums, and come in years later than your other teeth. Most people have four wisdom teeth, one in each back corner of the mouth; a set on the bottom and a set on the top. Wisdom teeth come in later than all of your other teeth, and they often have to fight for space. This can cause them to come it an an angle, impacting other teeth, or even get stuck and not be able to erupt at all, in which case you have an impacted wisdom tooth. Top wisdom teeth are usually easier to remove than bottom wisdom teeth, as impacted wisdom teeth are more likely to occur in the bottom teeth.

That being said, not everyone will have an impacted tooth and need their wisdom teeth removed, but removal is a widespread practice. And now, many professionals are reconsidering the necessity to remove so many teeth. In the past, studies have shown that potentially 44% of wisdom tooth removal may not have been necessary, and that even despite new guidelines, 22% of current extraction might be inappropriate.

If you have lots of questions about wisdom teeth, you aren’t the only one. Let’s go over some of the most common questions and concerns that people have regarding wisdom teeth.

Why do we have wisdom teeth?

So why do we have wisdom teeth if most of us just have to get them removed? It doesn’t make much sense, right? Well, wisdom teeth are probably vestigial, left over from when our ancestors needed them to chew through tougher foods than we eat today. Their teeth were probably worn down quite a bit faster, so they had room for those wisdom teeth to come in.

 Does everyone get wisdom teeth?

If you don’t have wisdom teeth you shouldn’t feel bad. In fact, you might be more evolved than the rest of us. Plus you can save all that money on wisdom teeth removal. But to be sure that you don’t have any wisdom teeth, your dentist will want to take an x-ray—it could just be that they are taking their time to come in.

 When do wisdom teeth come in?

So when do you get your wisdom teeth? Age for eruption varies for everyone, but for most people, wisdom tooth eruption happens between the ages of 17 and 25. But if you don’t yet  have your wisdom teeth at age 30, don’t worry; they could come in even later, some people get their wisdom teeth when they are in their 40s. Or they might just stay hidden forever, in which case extraction may not be necessary.

 Why do wisdom teeth hurt?

not enough room for wisdom tooth

Sometimes wisdom teeth don’t have enough room to grow and this is why they cause pain.

Not all wisdom teeth hurt. Some wisdom teeth have plenty of room to grow in, and some may not grow in at all, and still cause no pain.

Some wisdom teeth pain isn’t a sign that they need to be removed, as even during a normal, healthy eruption, it’s perfectly normal to experience pain and sore gums.

However, some people who have a wisdom tooth coming through might have an impacted tooth, which will indeed cause plenty of pain.

Even if you think your pain is normal eruption pain, it’s still important to get your wisdom teeth checked out by your dentist to make sure that the pain you’re experiencing isn’t wisdom tooth impaction pain or pain from a partially erupted wisdom tooth that doesn’t have room to grow in the rest of the way.

Another reason a wisdom tooth might hurt is pericoronitis, or an infected wisdom tooth. This can involve swollen gum tissue around the tooth, and you can even have a wisdom tooth abscess involving a pocket of pus. An infection can happen to your wisdom teeth because partially erupted teeth can be more difficult to clean, making it the perfect home for bacteria, eventually leading to wisdom tooth decay.

Does wisdom tooth removal hurt?

You won’t actually feel any wisdom tooth extraction pain while your dentist is pulling your teeth, because your dentist will give you a local anaesthetic that will numb the area. They might even sedate you which will not only relax you but cause you to fall asleep and not remember anything about the process. If you’re particularly anxious about getting your teeth removed, ask for that option as you’ll wake up when it’s over and you won’t even realise it was done.

Although wisdom teeth removal doesn’t hurt during the actual process of extraction, it’s the pain you’ll experience after tooth extraction that you will most likely feel. Pain after wisdom tooth extraction is to be expected and your dentist might prescribe you something to take, or if they expect your pain to be milder, they may instruct you to take ibuprofen or paracetamol.

What does wisdom teeth removal cost?

On the NHS, wisdom tooth removal falls under Band 2 of treatment, and will cost you £62.10. If paid for privately, extraction will cost more, with costs starting at £100.

Wisdom tooth removal recovery time

It could take you anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to recover from your wisdom tooth extraction surgery. During recovery, you’re likely to experience any or all of the following:

  • Sore wisdom tooth gums
  • A sore jaw
  • Bad taste
  • Swollen mouth and cheeks
  • General wisdom tooth pain at the site of extraction

You’ll also probably need some wisdom tooth recovery time off work as well. The Royal College of Surgeons recommends 1–3 days off of work for those who have administrative jobs, and 3–4 days off work for those who have physically demanding jobs.

They also warn against taking too much time off work, as returning to your normal routine can actually help you recover faster.

Orthodontic extraction

You may need an orthodontic tooth extraction if you have crowded teeth or teeth misalignment and need orthodontics, such as braces, for correction. The reason for orthodontic extractions is that in order to fix teeth misalignment, jaw space needs to be freed up so your teeth can move around.

Not everyone will need tooth extraction for orthodontic treatment, however. Many patients can successfully complete orthodontic treatment without tooth extraction, also called non-extraction orthodontic treatment.

Your dentist will be able to determine whether you need extraction vs non-extraction orthodontic treatment, depending on your teeth misalignment symptoms, and the amount of room you have for teeth to move around.

One of the most common orthodontic extraction procedures is for premolars, with some people needing all 4 in each jaw removed.

Girls with braces on

Very often teeth extractions are needed before putting braces on to make a space for teeth to move around

Hyperdontia extraction

Hyperdontia is not a very common dental problem, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be successfully treated. Your first question is probably what is hyperdontia? 

Hyperdontia, also known as supernumerary teeth, means having more teeth than the normal amount. Most adults have 32 teeth, so anything more than that is considered to be hyperdontia.

Hyperdontia causes include genetics and some medical conditions such as Gardner’s Syndrome. Additionally, hyperdontia in children can occur when they are born with a cleft palate. Hyperdontia doesn’t always need to be treated, but if you have multiple hyperdontia, or many supernumerary teeth, you’ll probably need hyperdontia treatment. Hyperdontia can be treated with orthodontics, but most likely hyperdontia removal, or extraction of supernumerary teeth, will be the best treatment.

If hyperdontia treatment is considered medically necessary, meaning a tooth needs to be extracted, then hyperdontia NHS treatment will be covered under Band 2 for £62.10.

Periodontal disease

Periodontal disease is another reason you may have to have your teeth extracted. You may have also heard periodontal disease referred to as gum disease, or gingivitis in its earlier stages. But what is periodontal disease?

Gum disease is the inflammation of the gums, it often causes tenderness and bleeding when brushing teeth.

Periodontal disease can be caused by a number of factors, but some of the main periodontal disease causes mostly lead back to the bacteria that are ever-present in our mouths. This bacteria feed on food particles left in our mouths, and then they work with saliva to form plaque on our teeth.

That’s why it’s so important to floss and brush your teeth twice a day, because if not, the plaque can harden over time into tartar or calculus. The tartar then allows more bacteria to breed, and attack the gum tissue around your teeth.

The three periodontal disease stages are:

  • Gingivitis
  • Periodontitis
  • Advanced periodontitis

You may have this problem if you notice any of the following periodontal disease symptoms.

  • Red or swollen gums
  • Receding gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Bad breath
  • Bad taste
  • Sensitive teeth

If you are experiencing these symptoms, you’re probably wondering how to stop periodontal disease, or if periodontal disease can be reversed. Don’t worry, because periodontal disease treatment can be pretty straight-forward in many cases.

You may even be wondering if not only can periodontitis be treated, but additionally, can periodontal disease be cured? The good news is yes, although your periodontal disease cure will depend on how far your case has progressed.

If you are just in the beginning stages of gum disease, you’ll be happy to know that it’s actually pretty simple to conduct periodontal disease treatment at home. For how to reverse periodontal disease naturally you should always talk to your dentist to see what they recommend. If you don’t have tartar buildup on along your gums yet, they will most likely instruct you to follow a better oral hygiene routine.

If however, you are at the later stages where it is no longer curable, your teeth may become loose and you’ll have to have them extracted. It’s important to go to the dentist long before this happens, but it’s certainly better late than never.

If your gums have receded quite a bit, but your dentist still thinks your teeth can be saved, another treatment option, along with proper brushing and flossing, can be a gum graft. This is where your dentist will take part of your gums from the roof of your mouth and move it to where your gums are receding. In the video below you can see some periodontal disease pictures before and after this particular vlogger got gum graft surgery.

Tooth decay

One of the most common reasons that many patients have to eventually have their teeth extracted is due to tooth decay. So let’s take some time here to talk about it in depth.

What is tooth decay?

Tooth Decay picture

One of the reasons of getting tooth decay is when you eat or drink a lot of food that contains sugars, the bacteria in plaque produce acids that attack tooth enamel.

Tooth decay begins with the bacteria that live in your mouth. These bacteria feed on leftover food particles and form together to build plaque. If plaque is left on your teeth (and not removed by brushing) the bacteria in plaque create acid that will eat away at your tooth’s enamel.

What causes tooth decay?

So we know that tooth decay is caused by bacteria feeding on leftover food particles and creating acid that eats away at the enamel. But what can make your chances of tooth decay worse and what are the causes of tooth decay, besides just bacteria? Well, if you’re wondering how to stop tooth decay, or how to get rid of tooth decay, many of the solutions actually have to do with your diet, including the cessation or decrease of the following:

  • Eating and drinking foods/drinks with high levels of carbohydrates and sugars
  • Eating an excessive amount of citrus
  • Drinking fizzy drinks
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Snacking between meals

Some other tooth decay causes included:

  • Smoking
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Not seeing the dentist regularly
  • Not cleaning properly around dental appliances like braces or bridges

 Signs of tooth decay

There are various tooth decay symptoms that should clue you into if you have this problem. Tooth decay often presents itself as small marks of discolouration on your tooth, they may be brown as you might expect, but they could also be white. In addition to the visible signs of tooth decay, you may also experience tooth decay pain when chewing, sensitivity to hot and cold, and bad breath. If you think you are experiencing these symptoms of tooth decay or you are worried about your kids and tooth decay or your baby and tooth decay, it’s very important that you or your children see a dentist as soon as possible.

As you progress further along into the tooth decay stages, your symptoms will become more noticeable, especially if you have front tooth decay where it’s easy to see. At some point during these later stages of tooth decay, the decay actually turns into a cavity, and a cavity might present as either a dark spot like black tooth decay, or even a small hole in your tooth.

Can you reverse tooth decay?

You may be wondering how to reverse tooth decay or how to remove tooth decay yourself. At the very beginning stages, it’s possible that tooth decay can be reversed. In this case, your dentist can instruct you on how to help your tooth’s enamel remineralize and become stronger again. You may be instructed to use a remineralizing toothpaste, and after a while, with proper oral hygiene and regular dentist checkups, you may find that you have been able to cure tooth decay.

That being said, adult and child tooth decay treatment options are no longer as simple as better oral hygiene in the case of bad tooth decay. In the later stages, there aren’t any home remedies for tooth decay—you’ll have to go to the dentist and if the cavity hasn’t spread too far, they can give you a filling.

However, if the cavity has spread into the pulp chamber and the root of your tooth, you will require a root canal, and if the decay has left barely any healthy tooth left, then that’s when your tooth will require extraction. Before your tooth decay gets to the point of requiring extraction, you should recognize the symptoms and get to the dentist for treatment.

Dental tooth extraction techniques-How do dentists remove teeth?

Now that you’ve seen some of the reasons why your dentist may recommend extracting teeth, let’s have a look at how dentists remove teeth, along with some tooth extraction techniques including wisdom tooth extraction techniques.

 Surgical tooth extraction

You may require a surgical tooth extraction if you need to get your wisdom teeth or third molar removed. The surgical tooth extraction procedure is generally as follows:

  • Your dentist will administer both local anesthesia and intravenous anesthesia
  • Depending on medical conditions your dentist may administer general anesthesia
  • Your dentist or surgeon will cut into your gums with a small incision
  • Any bone around your tooth may also need to be cut in order to extract your toothYour tooth is extracted
  • Your dentist will close the extraction site with stitches so it can heal
  • Your dentist will prescribe you pain medication to help with surgical tooth extraction pain
man wearing red dentist shirt holding hose

When the tooth isn’t fully grown or not broken through the gum line the surgical tooth extraction is needed.

So how long does a surgical tooth extraction take?

You may be surprised to hear that a typical tooth extraction is usually over within 20 to 40 minutes. Of course, a surgical tooth extraction will take a bit longer than a non surgical tooth extraction, but it should still be over within an hour. You’ll want to make sure to spend the rest of the day resting, so don’t make any plans for after your surgical extraction.

Surgical tooth extraction recovery time will be different for everyone, but you are likely to heal anywhere between 7 and 10 days with proper aftercare. The aftercare for a surgical tooth extraction includes;

  • Taking painkillers following the instructions of your dentist
  • Leaving the gauze in place for 3-4 hours after the procedure (unless your dentist says otherwise)
  • Applying an ice pack for 10 minutes at a time
  • Resting for a full 24 hours after surgery
  • Don’t smoke
  • Prop your head up
  • Brush and floss making sure to avoid the extraction site

Tooth extraction under general anaesthetic

Tooth extraction anesthesia includes two types; local and general. The majority of tooth extractions, including those requiring surgery, can be performed under local anaesthetic. If under local anaesthesia for tooth extraction, you will be awake for the entire procedure, but you won’t feel any pain. If your procedure is more complex, you may however be placed under a general anaesthetic, in which case you will be asleep for the entire procedure. This happens mostly with tooth extraction in children in order to reduce any trauma they may experience during a tooth extraction. However, wisdom tooth extraction can sometimes require general anaesthetic as well.. Most often, however, tooth extraction under general anaesthetic isn’t necessary, and even wisdom teeth anesthesia only needs to be local.

Tooth extraction under general anaesthetic NHS costs will fall under Band 2 treatment fees, meaning that it will cost you £62.10. As an adult, however, you may not be given the option of general anaesthetic under NHS for tooth extraction, so if it’s something you think you’ll need, ask your dentist if they’ll be able to provide it. Otherwise you’ll have to pay for it privately, in which case the tooth extraction general anesthesia cost can be anywhere between £55 and £250.

 Normal tooth extraction

When people refer to a normal tooth extraction, they are most likely referring to tooth extraction without general anesthesia, but just using local anaesthesia.

If you’re wondering if you can get a tooth extraction without any anesthesia whatsoever, this is not recommended and you probably won’t be able to find a dentist willing to perform the procedure. If you are concerned about anaesthesia, tell your dentist you would prefer to only have local anaesthesia, and thus you can be awake throughout the whole procedure.

Tooth Extraction

Nowadays there are different methods of pain management during the extraction so it is not so scary as it used to be years ago

What to do before tooth extraction

If you have an upcoming tooth extraction, you’re probably wondering how to prepare. To help you feel ready, have a look at the following answers to common questions asked by those getting ready to have a tooth extracted.

How can I relax before a tooth extraction?

Many people are wondering how to calm nerves before a tooth extraction, and there are definitely some things that can help.

Make sure to have your dentist explain the entire process to you beforehand, so you know what to expect.
Plan to bring a family member or a friend with you to your appointment.
Share your fears with your dentist before the procedure
Plan a fun playlist to listen to on headphones during the procedure

Can I eat before a tooth extraction?

Eating before a tooth extraction the night before is perfectly fine, but you want to make sure that you don’t have anything to eat or drink for a minimum of 6 hours before your surgery according to the Associates for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

Should I take an antibiotic before tooth extraction?

Antibiotics before tooth extraction are not commonly prescribed. If you are someone who has underlying cardiac conditions, you’ll need to talk with your dentist before your procedure, and they can recommend pre-surgery antibiotics if deemed necessary. To stop the overuse of antibiotics, it’s important to only take them as prescribed by your dentist.

Should I stop aspirin before a tooth extraction?

Some people wonder if they should stop taking aspirin before surgery, since it is a blood thinner and you may be concerned that it could stop your blood from clotting. Studies have been conducted to this effect, and the general conclusion is that you don’t need to stop taking aspirin before your tooth extraction. To be safe, make sure to mention any medications that you are taking to your dentist well before the procedure.

Can I take ibuprofen before a tooth extraction?

It’s perfectly normal to wonder if you can take painkillers before a tooth extraction, after all, they should reduce pain right? Although it hasn’t proven not to be safe to take ibuprofen before surgery, it’s best to follow the instructions of your dentist. You aren’t likely to notice any difference in pain whether you take it or not, and a study conducted with children has found that there was no difference in the amount of pain experienced post-opt with those that took ibuprofen before surgery and those that didn’t.

How long does pain last after a tooth extraction?

Most people who need to get a tooth removed feel pretty apprehensive about the pain they might experience. So let’s find out a bit more about the pain involved, how long it lasts and what you can do about it.

 Does tooth extraction hurt?

The main question on everyones’ minds when going in for a tooth extraction: Is a tooth extraction painful? The answer is two-fold: You shouldn’t experience any surgical tooth extraction pain or normal tooth extraction pain during the procedure at all. However, you are likely to experience some tooth extraction pain afterwards. Your pain will also depend on how many teeth you had to have pulled, and the kind of tooth that you got pulled. Surgical tooth extraction pain is likely to be more intense than non-surgical tooth extraction pain. Let’s have a look at the different kinds of extraction, and pain you can experience after each.

woman with tooth ache

You may feel some pain after a tooth extraction procedure. The pain depend on what kind and how many teeth were extracted

  • Wisdom tooth extraction pain: How long does wisdom tooth extraction hurt after your procedure? Your wisdom tooth extraction pain can last up to 2 weeks after having your teeth removed. So if you’re still experiencing wisdom tooth extraction pain after 3 days, 5 days or 7 days, and even up to 2 weeks, it’s totally normal.
  • Molar tooth extraction: Normal molar tooth extraction pain duration should be less than wisdom tooth pain. You should expect your molar to start feeling better after about three days. However, it’s also normal to experience some pain after two weeks just like with wisdom teeth. If you are concerned that your pain is lasting too long, or is too extreme, you can call your dentist to get a second opinion.

Post extraction pain relief

So post tooth extraction pain: how long does it last? And how long should a tooth extraction hurt? Post tooth extraction pain can be pretty intense, so you’re definitely probably looking for some tooth extraction pain relief. Thankfully, there are plenty of tooth extraction pain medication and tooth extraction pain relief home remedies that can help ease the pain along with the pain relief prescribed by your dentist.

Tooth extraction pain medications: You can take paracetamol to help reduce pain, along with aspirin, or Codeine from a pharmacy. You can also try using topical gels and ointments to help with pain relief.

Tooth extraction pain natural remedies:  As far as natural remedies for tooth extraction aftercare goes, you may want to consider using clove oil or drinking peppermint tea for pain relief. Before trying any home remedies, consult your dentist first to make sure it’s safe.

Tooth extraction healing

Your dentist will tell you all about the tooth extraction healing process including extraction healing time and tooth extraction stages, but let’s have a look at this information now so you can go in feeling prepared:

 What should a tooth extraction look like when healing?

So how do you know if your tooth extraction is healing by looking at it?

If your tooth extraction recovery is going well, at the tooth extraction hole, you should be able to see blood clots. You might also see what looks like white tissue at the site of extraction. That white tissue is just dead tissue that is part of the normal tooth extraction healing. White stuff or tissue should only be cause for alarm if it’s accompanied by extreme pain.

If you do find yourself to be in a lot of pain, and you can see white, it might be due to dry socket. Dry socket is when the blood clot where your tooth was extracted doesn’t develop, or becomes dislodged. It’s very painful and  you need to make sure to see your dentist immediately if this happens to you.

 Tooth extraction healing timeline

Now have a look at the following day to day tooth extraction healing timeline to see what you can expect for tooth extraction recovery time.

ime passed since extraction

Stage of healing

Potential side effects

Activity level

First 24 hours

lood clots begin to form

Some pain and bleeding likely, also swelling


3-14 days

Socket should be mostly healed

No bleeding, minimal swelling

Regular daily activity (not too strenuous)


Healing completed

May feel tender, no bleeding, no pain

Back to regular lifestyle

Time passed since extraction

  • Stage of healing
  • Potential side effects
  • Activity level
  • First 24 hours
  • Blood clots begin to form
  • Some pain and bleeding likely, also swelling


 3-14 days

  • Socket should be mostly healed
  • No bleeding, minimal swelling

 Regular daily activity (not too strenuous)


  • Healing completed
  • May feel tender, no bleeding, no pain

 Back to regular lifestyle

So that’s what the tooth extraction healing process looks like if all is going well. If you don’t think you’re experiencing normal tooth extraction healing, it’s very important that you contact your dentist immediately.

Additionally, have a look at these tooth extraction healing pictures to be sure of what to expect:

Wisdom tooth extraction healing time

The wisdom tooth extraction healing process might be a bit different than normal tooth extraction healing. Whereas a normal tooth might feel better after a few days, a pulled wisdom tooth can take up to two weeks, and maybe a bit longer to feel completely better.

Mostly that’s because wisdom tooth extraction recovery time might take a little longer, and a wisdom tooth extraction hole or wound might be deeper or wider than that left by normal molars, as an incision has to be made to take them out, whereas normal teeth can simply be pulled.

 What to eat after tooth extraction

If you or your child recently got a tooth extraction, you’ve probably got some questions, like:

What can I eat after a tooth extraction?
How long after a tooth extraction can I eat on that side?
How long after a tooth extraction can I eat normal food?

Have a look at the following answers to some common questions people have when it comes to eating and tooth extraction, and what foods to eat after a tooth extraction:

What can you eat after a tooth extraction? Of course, one must eat, even after a tooth extraction, so what to eat after a tooth extraction to cause minimal pain and not hinder recovery? You’ll want to eat soft foods after your tooth extraction; that can be anything from smoothies to greek yogurt to soup, (just not too hot).
How soon can you eat after a tooth extraction? You may be even to start consuming liquids a few hours after your extraction, but make sure to follow your dentist’s orders.
What not to eat after a tooth extraction? You shouldn’t eat anything that requires chewing, or foods that are very hot after a tooth extraction.
How long after tooth extraction can I eat chips? You should wait until you are fully recovered—which may be a couple of weeks—before you can return to eating chips.
How long after a tooth extraction can I eat and drink? You can drink a few hours after your extraction, but eating anything completely solid will take 24 hours. within 24 hours you can start to eat soft foods, just don’t chew on the site of extraction.
When can I eat solid food after a wisdom tooth extraction? You can start eating solid food after 24 hours of wisdom tooth removal.
What can I eat after a wisdom tooth extraction? After a wisdom tooth extraction, make sure to only consume liquids within the first 24 hours, and then you can slowly transition to more solid foods.

To sum up:

Tooth extraction aftercare food should be liquid for the first few hours, and very soft within the first 24 hours. After that, you can transition to more solid foods, but you should also make sure to not chew on the site of the extraction as this can be painful and potentially disrupt the healthy formation of blood clots.

 Smoking after tooth extraction

You may have heard that there’s no smoking after a tooth extraction. So how long before you can begin smoking after a tooth extraction? Different dentists will give you different guidelines. Some say that there should be no smoking after tooth extraction with 24 hours to 72 hours, but most say you should really try to wait until smoking after a tooth extraction for 48 hours at least.

Why is there no smoking after a tooth extraction?

No smoking sign

There are different guidelines for how long you should avoid smoking after extraction but most agree that you should wait at least 48 h


Because if you engage in smoking after tooth extraction, the stitches put in place to close the hole could come apart, making the healing process take longer. Additionally, tobacco can cause damage to the tissue cells, and the carbon monoxide found in smokers’ blood decreases the amount of oxygen around the wound, also leading to a higher risk of infection and further slowing the healing processes. Additionally, the sucking motion caused by smoking can dislodge the blood clot resulting in a dry socket, which can be more painful even than a tooth extraction. You’ll read all about dry socket in the next section.

What about smoking after a tooth extraction with gauze?

After 48 hours have passed, if you really need a cigarette, you should place gauze over the socket to help prevent the sucking motion from dislodging a blood clot. Again, this should only be done after 48 hours.

It should be mentioned that vaping after tooth extraction should be treated the same as with smoking—wait 48 hours and use gauze when you do so.

Dry socket

As promised, it’s time to learn a bit more about the dreaded dry socket. This is one of the worst and most common problems associated with tooth removal.

 What is dry socket?

 What is dry socket and what does dry socket look like?

Dry socket is one of the most common complications that can happen after tooth removal. It’s when the blood clot that has formed at the site of your extraction doesn’t develop or is dislodged before the wound has time to heal.This blood clot’s purpose is to form as a protective layer between your bone and nerve endings and the world outside your tooth socket. You can get dry socket in wisdom teeth and regular teeth, however wisdom teeth dry socket is more common than with regular teeth, since the hole where the tooth was is larger.

What causes dry socket?

If you want to know how to avoid dry socket, you’ve got to know about its causes. Dry socket can be caused when the blood clot isn’t there to protect the socket, leading to bacterial contamination in the empty socket. It can also result from trauma from a difficult extraction. But the factors that can increase dry socket include smoking, oral contraceptives, and improper aftercare after your extraction.

 Dry socket symptoms

So how do you tell if you have dry socket? The symptoms of dry socket tooth include:

Severe dry socket pain
Loss of blood clot at the extraction site
Visible bone in your empty socket
Pain shooting from your socket to your ear, eyes temple or neck
Bad breath
Bad taste in your mouth

Dry socket treatment

If you have dry socket, you’re probably wondering how to treat dry socket, or if dry socket will heal on its own. Unfortunately, your dentist will have to treat your dry socket, and symptoms won’t go away until they do. So as soon as you suspect you might have this problem, make sure to contact your dentist immediately.

How to prevent dry socket

You can prevent dry socket by following your dentist’s or surgeons aftercare instructions. That means:

  • No smoking for 48 hours after surgery
  • Keeping your mouth clean with a gentle salt rinse (only after 24 hours)
  • Eat only soft foods for the first day, and liquids after the first few hours
  • Don’t drink alcohol or hot or carbonated beverages
  • Don’t drink with a straw
  • Make sure to rest for the whole day after surgery

 How long does dry socket last?

Dry socket healing time can take up to a few weeks, but that’s if left untreated. Once you get in to see your dentist, you should notice substantial relief within just a few hours.

 When can I stop worrying about dry socket?

You run the risk of getting dry socket until your mouth is fully healed, and that can mean up to two weeks after the procedure. Once your extraction site is completely healed you know longer have to worry about dry socket.

Tooth extraction problems

Swelling: It’s normal to experience some post tooth extraction swelling around your general mouth area after a tooth is extracted, and actually it will be at its worst between 48 and 72 hours after extraction. Tooth extraction swelling duration can vary, but if you notice it much after 72 hours, it should be looked at by your dentist. Tooth extraction swelling and pain that increases should also be looked at by your dentist.
Bad breath: If you notice bad breath associated with intense pain, you might be experiencing a dry socket, in which case you need to contact your dentist immediately. Otherwise, if you experience tooth extraction bad breath but no pain, just make sure to monitor the situation and follow your dentist’s aftercare instructions.
Bleeding: A small amount of bleeding after a tooth extraction is normal. If you still see bleeding after 24 hours, or it seems like the bleeding is increasing, you should contact your dentist.
Infection: You could get a bone infection after a tooth extraction. Signs of infection include swelling, fever, pain and bad breath. If you have these symptoms make sure to contact your dentist.
Dry socket: As mentioned above, this is one of the most common problems associated with tooth extraction.

Any of these problems can be normal molar as well as wisdom tooth extraction problems. Wisdom tooth extraction swelling or bad breath may last longer than a regular extraction, as it’s a more complicated and invasive procedure.

Extracted tooth

You may experience some problems after extraction as swealing, bad breath or bleeding for some time, if something worries you you and you fell pain longer you should contact your dentist

How much does a tooth extraction cost?

How much does a tooth extraction cost without insurance?

If you get a tooth extracted and pay for it privately, it is likely to cost you between £50 and £370, depending on what type of tooth you are getting pulled. Oral surgery tooth extraction costs, including with wisdom teeth, will be towards the higher end of that range.

 How much does a wisdom tooth extraction cost?

On the NHS, a wisdom tooth extraction will cost £62.10, under Band 2 of treatment charges and wisdom tooth extraction cost with no insurance can cost up to £370, depending on where you go.

Tooth extraction NHS

A tooth extraction on NHS is covered by Band 2 treatment charges, so that means you will have to pay £62.10. Wisdom tooth extraction cost, surgical tooth extraction costs, broken tooth extraction cost, and rotten tooth extraction costs will all fall under this Band 2 treatment charge.

Below you can see a summary of the three bands of NHS treatment, also including the cost of tooth extraction on the NHS:

Emergency dental treatment: The goal here is to relieve pain and provide temporary solutions until longer-term solutions can be provided.
Band 1: Preventative care like fluoride varnish, and professional cleanings. Also consultations, exams and X-rays.
Band 2: Includes all services covered under Band 1, and also includes root canal treatments, tooth extraction and dental fillings.
Band 3: Includes all services that fall under Band 1 and Band 2, with the addition of complex procedures like dental bridges, dental crowns and dentures.

As you can see, the tooth extraction NHS cost falls under Band 3. It might help to see the corresponding prices for each band, so you will know how much your extraction on the NHS will cost. So here you are:

Band 1: £22,70

Band 2: £62.10

Band 3: £269.30

Tooth extraction summary

Many people have to get at least one tooth pulled during their lifetimes, and there are a plethora of reasons why this may need to happen. Maybe you need a tooth to be pulled due to overcrowding, or perhaps you have to have an impacted wisdom tooth taken out. Whatever the reason, you can rest assured knowing that this is a common procedure that your dentist will be able to execute successfully. Just make sure you follow proper aftercare, and contact your dentist immediately if you think anything is going wrong.

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 How long does a surgical tooth extraction take?

A surgical tooth extraction will take a bit longer than the average 20-40 minutes that it takes to extract a normal tooth. It will all depend on whether your tooth is decayed, or if your dentist needs to break your tooth into smaller pieces to remove it. Your dentist will be able to give you the closest estimate.

How much does a surgical tooth extraction cost?

On the NHS, a surgical tooth extraction falls under Band 2 of treatment charges, so that would be £62.10. However, if paid for privately, it can cost anywhere between  £50-£370.

 Can you eat before a tooth extraction?

You should wait a day before eating harder foods, but you can begin to eat liquid foods a few hours after your treatment and very soft foods a little after that.

How long does wisdom tooth extraction pain last?

Wisdom tooth extraction pain can last up to two weeks, but make sure to contact your dentist if it seems to be getting worse.

 How long does tooth extraction pain last?

Normal tooth extraction pain can last up to two weeks, but you should start feeling better by day 3.

 What does dry socket feel like?

Signs of dry socket include intense pain caused by exposed nerve and bone. The pain can be throbbing and spread all over the side of your face where extraction happened. If you think you have dry socket you must visit your dentist.


Examination & X-ray Questions’. Associates for Oral Maxillofacial Surgery. Accessed 28 December 2019.

‘Guidance on the Extraction of Wisdom Teeth’. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Accessed 28 December 2019.

‘Returning to work’. Royal College of Surgeons. Accessed 28 December 2019.

‘Antibiotic Prophylaxis Prior to Dental Procedures’. American Dental Association. Accessed 28 December 2019.

‘Discontinuation of Oral Antiplatelet Agents before Dental Extraction-Necessity or Myth?’ NCBI. Accessed 28 December 2019.

‘Painkillers, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, before dental treatment in children and adolescents for reducing pain after treatment’. Cochrane. Accessed 28 December 2019.

‘Your guide to having teeth removed’. NHS England. Accessed 28 December 2019.

‘Wisdom tooth removal’. NHS. Accessed 28 December 2019.

Natalie Asmussen

Natalie graduated from Universitat Rovira i Virgili in Spain.
Freelancer, Translator and Copywriter.
She was born and raised in the US, and now live in Spain, working as a freelance copywriter and translator. Natalie has over two years of full-time experience writing SEO articles, product descriptions, and articles for technical and travel blogs.

She has experience in the healthcare industry both as a Community Health Worker, and from her time working as a representative for the Affordable Care Act (more commonly known as ObamaCare) in the United States. She wrote medical and dental content for trusted healthcare information sites. Natalie is also volunteer at refugee mentor at the International Institute of Minnesota where she is a part of mentor for a newly arrived refugee families.

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