Understanding Tooth Extractions: Non-Surgical vs. Surgical Procedures

Tooth extractions can be either surgical or non-surgical procedures, depending on the complexity of the extraction. Here’s a breakdown of both types:

Non-Surgical Tooth Extraction:

  • Non-surgical tooth extraction, also known as simple extraction, is performed on teeth that are visible in the mouth and can be easily accessed by the dentist.
  • The dentist will administer a local anaesthetic to numb the area around the tooth. This ensures that you won’t feel pain during the procedure.
  • Using dental instruments, such as an elevator and forceps, the dentist will loosen the tooth and gently remove it from its socket.
  • Non-surgical extractions are usually quick and straightforward, with minimal discomfort and a relatively short recovery period.
  • After the extraction, the dentist may place a gauze pad on the extraction site to control bleeding. You’ll be provided with post-extraction care instructions to aid healing.


Surgical Tooth Extraction:

  • Surgical tooth extraction is necessary for teeth that are impacted (unable to fully emerge through the gum line) or severely damaged.
  • The procedure is typically performed by an oral surgeon or a dentist with specialised training.
  • Surgical extractions may require general anaesthesia or a combination of local anaesthesia and sedation to ensure your comfort throughout the procedure.
  • An incision is made in the gum tissue to expose the tooth and surrounding bone. In some cases, a small amount of bone may need to be removed to fully extract the tooth.
  • The tooth may need to be sectioned into smaller pieces for easier removal.
  • After the tooth is extracted, the surgeon may place sutures to close the incision. Gauze may also be placed over the extraction site to control bleeding.
  • Recovery from surgical extractions may take longer compared to non-surgical extractions, and you’ll be given specific instructions for post-operative care.

It’s important to follow the guidelines provided by your dentist or oral surgeon after a tooth extraction to promote healing, prevent complications, and ensure a smooth recovery.


These guidelines may include:

  • Pain management: Take prescribed pain medication as directed or use over-the-counter pain relievers, if recommended by your dentist.
  • Bleeding control: Bite down gently on the gauze pad placed over the extraction site to control bleeding. Change the gauze as needed.
  • Swelling and bruising: Apply an ice pack to the affected area to reduce swelling and bruising, if advised by your dentist.
  • Oral hygiene: Avoid rinsing or brushing the extraction site for the first 24 hours. Afterward, gently rinse with a saltwater solution as recommended by your dentist. 
  • Diet: Stick to soft foods and avoid using a straw to prevent dislodging the blood clot that forms in the extraction socket.
  • Rest and recovery: Take it easy for the first few days after the extraction and avoid strenuous activities.
  • Follow-up appointments: Attend any scheduled follow-up visits with your dentist or oral surgeon to monitor your healing progress.

Remember to consult with your dentist or oral surgeon for personalised advice regarding your specific situation, as they will be able to provide you with the most accurate information and address any concerns you may have.


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