Tooth Extractions: Does Having a Tooth Removed Hurt?

When you were a kid, you probably recall an adult talking about how painful their tooth removal experience was. Most adults or teenagers grow up to shake off this belief, but others remain fearful of the dental procedure. 

The thought of any dental procedure can be anxiety-inducing for some, but understanding the process behind this necessary treatment could alleviate these worries for some people. 

When Is a Tooth Extraction Needed? 

There are several scenarios where a tooth extraction becomes necessary. Most of the time, tooth removal is critical to remove decaying or broken teeth, but sometimes, it’s done to relieve discomfort from a wisdom tooth. 

Wisdom Tooth Removal 

Wisdom teeth, or third molars, often emerge in early adulthood and can cause issues like impaction, overcrowding, or infection due to insufficient jaw space. 

A dentist or oral surgeon may recommend extraction to relieve discomfort or pain from an erupting wisdom tooth. Although there are instances when a wisdom tooth emerges without any discomfort, dentists often prefer to remove it before it creates problems in the future. 

Broken Tooth 

A broken tooth is sometimes salvageable, but in some cases, it may require extraction. If the fracture reaches below the gum line, the tooth may need to be extracted to prevent further complications like infection. 

Removing Teeth with Curved Roots 

Root dilaceration, or the abnormal curvature of a tooth’s root, is another common reason for extraction. This condition can make extracting the tooth challenging, but discomfort and pain should subside once removed. Removing a tooth with curved roots may take longer than a regular extraction, but an experienced oral surgeon can ensure the procedure is as painless as possible. 

Severe Tooth Decay 

The most common reason a dental professional may suggest a tooth extraction is severe tooth decay. When a cavity reaches the innermost layer of the tooth, called the pulp, it can cause an infection that affects the surrounding tissues and bone. In these cases, a root canal may not be enough to save the tooth, and extraction becomes necessary. 

The Tooth Extraction Process 

The tooth extraction process typically involves several steps: 

  • Assessment and X-rays: The surgeon assesses the tooth’s condition and takes visualization exams (i.e., x-rays) to determine the best approach for extraction. 
  • Anesthesia: Before the procedure begins, the team administers anesthesia to numb the extraction site and prevent pain during the procedure. 
  • Extraction: The oral surgeon uses specialized tools to remove the tooth from its socket methodically. Surgical extraction may be necessary in complex cases, such as impacted teeth. 
  • Closure: After extraction, the surgeon may stitch the extraction site if needed. 

The process may differ from one dental professional to another, but this outline should provide a general overview of what to expect during a tooth extraction. 

How Do Dental Professionals Manage Pain During Tooth Extractions? 

Oral Surgeons employ various methods to manage pain and ensure patient comfort during tooth extractions. 

Local Anesthesia 

Local anesthesia involves injecting medication directly into the gums near the extraction site. This option is the most preferred and common method for managing pain during tooth extractions. 

With local anesthesia, the patient remains awake but won’t feel any discomfort during the procedure. It’s also a safe option for most people as it doesn’t affect heart rate or blood pressure. 

General Anesthesia 

If localized anesthesia isn’t enough to subside the pain, an oral surgeon may recommend general anesthesia. This option requires the patient to be put under and is typically reserved for complex or multiple extractions. 

General anesthesia can make the patient feel groggy after the procedure, but it ensures no pain during the extraction. This form of anesthesia is often administered through IV or inhaled gasses. 


Sedation techniques like nitrous oxide (laughing gas), oral sedatives, or intravenous (IV) sedation help patients relax and reduce anxiety during extractions. While not as potent as general anesthesia, sedation can make the procedure more comfortable. 

This approach is preferred when it comes to wisdom tooth removal as it ensures the patient is calm and comfortable during the procedure. 

Post-Operation Pain Management 

After tooth extraction, a patient may experience discomfort or mild pain. Dental professionals recommend the following for pain management: 

  • Pain Medication: Over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help reduce discomfort after an extraction. 
  • Cold Compress: Applying an ice pack on the side of the face for a few minutes can help reduce swelling and pain. 
  • Rest: Rest is vital to ensure proper healing, and avoiding hard or crunchy foods can also aid recovery. 
  • Saltwater Rinse: A warm saltwater rinse can help keep the extraction site clean and promote healing. 

Experience a Safe and Comfortable Tooth Removal Process 

Despite common fears, tooth extractions are typically performed with minimal discomfort, thanks to modern pain management techniques. Your oral surgeon will prioritize your comfort and safety, tailoring pain control methods to your individual needs. 

If you require a tooth extraction, don’t hesitate to discuss any concerns or anxieties with your dental expert. They can explain the procedure, pain management options, and aftercare instructions to ensure a smooth and pain-free experience. 

Our seasoned surgeons at Green Valley Oral Surgery will ensure a safe and comfortable tooth extraction process for you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and discuss your options.