What to expect from a tooth extraction

By HBF

5 minutes

23 December 2021

What to expect from a tooth extraction

What's involved with a tooth extraction, and how much does it cost? A dentist explains.

Tooth extractions are a common procedure, but it’s hard to know what to expect unless you’ve been through it.

To help put you at ease, we consulted Dr Abraham Al-Qaysi from HBF Dental for these details about how the procedure works and what it costs.


In this article:


What is a tooth extraction?

A tooth extraction is when a general dentist or specialist oral surgeon removes a tooth from your mouth.

If you hear someone say they’re getting a tooth pulled or having a tooth taken out, they’re talking about the same thing – a tooth extraction.

Why are teeth extracted?

Generally, tooth extractions are required when a dentist can’t save or repair a tooth.1

Reasons why a tooth might need to be extracted include:2

  • Severe gum disease
  • Impacted or infected wisdom teeth
  • Severe gum disease
  • Broken, fractured or cracked teeth
  • Where no other alternative option to save a tooth exists

How much does a tooth extraction cost in Australia?

The cost of a tooth extraction depends on the complexity of the procedure and whether a general dentist or specialist is carrying out the treatment.  

Extractions are classified into two groups, simple and surgical. Surgical costs can vary, but Dr. Al-Qaysi confirmed a general cost range for simple extractions.

A simple extraction by a general dentist in Australia usually costs between $150 and $250.

How much does a wisdom tooth extraction cost?

Like normal extractions, wisdom tooth extraction costs vary.

Major factors include the number of wisdom teeth being extracted, if a specialist referral is required, whether general anaesthetic is required, and the complexity of the procedure. Here again, Dr. Al-Qaysi provides an estimated cost range.

A wisdom tooth extraction from a general dentist in Australia usually costs between $180 and $400.

How can I cover the cost of a tooth extraction?

Kids’ tooth extractions can be covered by something called the Child Dental Benefits Schedule.

But unlike going to the doctor, which can be covered by Medicare, there is no universal government benefit for dental treatment in Australia.

Private health insurance can help pay for tooth extractions if you get extras cover.

Learn more about dental cover

Does getting a tooth extraction hurt?

Despite what many think, the process of extracting a tooth is not usually painful because your dentist will numb the tooth and surrounding gums. You may feel a little pressure as the tooth is removed.

If your tooth extraction is more complex or you need further help to relax, your dentist may recommend additional anesthetic options.

These options may include sedation anesthetic in the form of a tablet taken prior to the procedure, nitrous oxide (laughing gas) or through an intravenous (IV) line.

In exceptional circumstances, general anesthetic may be used.

How long does it take to recover after a tooth extraction?

Once the anesthetic has worn off and feeling has returned to your mouth, you may experience some tenderness and mild pain.  Your dentist may prescribe you pain relief or recommend an over-the-counter medicine.2

Applying an ice pack to your cheek can help reduce swelling, and you’ll be advised to avoid hot liquids, eat soft foods chew on the opposite side of your mouth.2

Resting for the first 24 hours is important to help your recovery. Strenuous physical activity, smoking and drinking should be avoided during this time.2

You should also avoid vigorous mouth rinsing and cleaning the teeth next to the extraction site.1

How long does it take the hole to close after a tooth extraction?

It can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months for the hole to close after a tooth extraction. The healing time depends on whether the extraction was simple or surgical.

A simple extraction is when a visible tooth and its root(s) are removed. It generally takes 7-14 days for a hole to close after removing a small tooth with a single root and around 3 weeks for a large tooth with several roots.

What can I eat after a tooth extraction?

Tenderness and swelling after a tooth extraction can make eating a bit of a challenge. Soft and easily chewable foods can make your recovery less painful.

Foods to eat:

  • Soup – ensure soup is lukewarm to avoid irritating the wound
  • Smoothies
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Mashed or pureed foods
  • Greek yoghurt
  • Applesauce
  • Avocado
  • Hummus
  • Cottage cheese
  • Instant oatmeal
  • Salmon

After a few days, and as you start to heal, you can begin eating harder foods such as chicken, fruits, and vegetables. 

Foods to avoid:

  • Spicy food
  • Soft drinks
  • Crunchy snacks – popcorn, chips, nuts, and biscuits
  • Grains and seeds
  • Chewy foods

Avoid these foods until the extraction site has healed.

 
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Sources:

  1. 1Orthodontists Australia – Why tooth extractions are sometimes necessary (2019)
  2. 2Healthdirect – Tooth extraction (2021)

Disclaimer:

This article contains general information only and does not take into account the health, personal situation or needs of any person. In conjunction with your GP or treating health care professional, please consider whether the information is suitable for you and your personal circumstances.