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Health Information Center

Tooth Extraction

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:


Tooth Extraction


This surgery is done to remove a tooth.

Surgical Removal of a Tooth.

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Reasons for Procedure

Tooth extraction may be done to remove a tooth that:

  • Is too badly damaged or decayed to be saved by a root canal
  • Has an infected nerve
  • Is affecting normal tooth growth
  • Is loose due to gum disease
  • Has a loss of supporting bone, gums, or tissue

Possible Complications

Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:

  • Excess bleeding
  • Problems from anesthesia
  • Infection
  • Nerve damage
  • Dry socket—when a blood clot does not form in the tooth socket

Things that may raise the risk of problems are:

  • Smoking
  • Chronic health problems, such as diabetes

What to Expect

Problems to Look Out For

Call the dentist if you are not getting better or you have:

  • Signs of infection, such as fever and chills
  • Redness, swelling, or increased pain at the site
  • Increased bleeding or other leakage from the site
  • Severe pain or pain that you cannot control with medicine
  • Bad breath or a bad odor coming from your mouth
  • Loss of the blood clot from the tooth socket
  • New or worsening symptoms

If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.

Prior to Procedure

Your dentist will meet with you to talk about:

  • Anesthesia options
  • Any allergies you may have
  • Current medicines, herbs, and supplements that you take and whether you need to stop taking them before the procedure
  • Fasting before the procedure, such as avoiding food or drink after midnight the night before
  • Arranging a ride to and from the procedure




  • Extractions. Mouth Healthy—American Dental Association website. Available at: https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/e/extractions.
  • Medication-related osteonecrosis of the jaw (MRONJ). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/medication-related-osteonecrosis-of-the-jaw-mronj.
  • Tooth decay. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research website. Available at: https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/health-info/tooth-decay.


  • Mark S. Itzkowitz, MD, JD
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.