What Will Happen When I See A Dentist For A Broken Tooth Extraction?

If a tooth is damaged enough, it will need to be extracted rather than filled. This can happen both to healthy teeth and teeth that have had previous operations like root canals. Extracting a broken tooth can be a little different than extracting a solid tooth, especially if your tooth has broken near the gum line. However, rarely are the surgeries so serious that you will need general anesthesia.

Who Will I See?

Depending on your situation and what your dentist is capable of doing, you may simply see your normal dentist for the extraction. You may also be recommended to an oral surgeon who can perform the extraction instead. Regardless of who you see, however, the process will go pretty much the same way.

What Will Happen Before The Procedure?

A dental extraction isn't too much different from other procedures in terms of preparation. A few minutes before you see your dentist you may be given some medication to help you stay calm, though you may not get this unless you request it. Apart from that you may be asked to avoid eating for 12 hours before the procedure, but to stay hydrated.

How Does An Extraction Work?

Every tooth in your mouth is held in a socket of bone, and held in place by a ligament. To extract your tooth, the dentist will need to make the socket a little larger and separate the ligament from the tooth.

After your mouth is numbed, your dentist will try moving your tooth back and forth to slightly increase the size of the socket. As this happens, the ligament will come loose as well. At this point the tooth can be pulled loose.

When your tooth is broken, the same general process applies. Your dentist may need to use different types of tools, such as a lever-like instrument that can pull out what's left of the root in the socket. One such tool is an "elevator" that is pressed into the socket between the tooth and gum that forces what's left of the tooth upward.

During this entire process, because your mouth will be numb, you will only feel pressure, not pain.

Should I Expect Complications?

A broken tooth is harder to extract than a solid tooth, but for the most part, the process will involve the removal of the tooth, including the root. Some complications can arise, but they are rarely serious.

  • If your tooth doesn't come out with the use of the dentist's normal tools, he may try splitting the tooth into a few different pieces. He will crack the tooth, then be able to pull out the pieces of tooth individually. You still should not feel any pain during this part, though you may hear a cracking sound, but this is normal.
  • If some of your tooth can't be reached, or if your dentist needs a better look – as can happen with impacted teeth – your dentist will create a dental flap. This involves pulling back a small section of gum tissue to allow the dentist greater access. Once finished, your gum is stitched back together.

What Happens After The Procedure?

In some cases you may receive stitches to close the socket, but it's common to simply place gauze in your mouth and bite down gently to apply pressure until the blood in your socket clots. This may take most of the day, but after that you can typically leave the socket to heal on its own. You may feel minor pain for a few days, but you will also be given a prescription for a painkiller.

If you did receive stitches, you will get an appointment to come in at a later time to have the stitches removed when your gums have mostly healed.