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Does It Actually Hurt To Get a Tooth Pulled?

Going through a tooth extraction can be a daunting experience for many people due to the fear of pain and the unknown. The procedure is often used as a last resort to remove teeth that are damaged or to resolve crowding issues. It is natural for most patients to feel anxious about the procedure, especially if it is your firs time. In fact, the question often asked by patients is: “Will it hurt to get a tooth pulled?”

The answer is NO, it is not painful to have a tooth extraction if anesthesia was applied. The dental industry has come a long way and today, tooth extraction procedures are designed to be as painless and quick as possible.

In this article, we aim to address the concern, and provide an in-depth explanation of the tooth extraction process, and steps taken to ensure a pain-less procedure.

Process of Tooth Extraction

Tooth extraction is a dental procedure used to remove a tooth from its socket in the jawbone. As mentioned, a tooth extraction is only carried out if the teeth has been deemed to be beyond repair, or if it is affecting the growth and health of its neighbouring teeth. The most commonly extracted tooth extracted is none other than the wisdom tooth; it is often removed to eliminate the issue of overcrowding where the wisdom tooth is causing pain or damaging other teeth due to impaction.

The extraction procedure typically starts with a consultation and examination by a dentist or oral surgeon. They will review your dental and medical history, take X-rays, and perform a physical examination to assess the state of your oral health. The X-ray review evaluates the curve and angle of the tooth’s root, as well as the condition of the jawbone to determine the complexity of the extraction procedure.

Once the best course of action is determined, a discussion is held with you to ensure that you are comfortable with the extraction plan.

Prior to the procedure, a local or general anesthetic is administered to numb the area around the tooth to be extracted or to put you to sleep respectively. There are primarily two forms of extraction: simple, and surgical extraction.

In a simple extraction, the entire tooth is visible and is removed as a whole. An instrument known as the elevator is first used to loosen the tooth while a foreceps clamps onto the tooth and removes it from the socket. This procedure is relatively straightfoward and low-risk

On the other hand, a surgical extraction is required if the tooth is impacted or broken at the gum line. The oral surgeon will make a small incision into your gum to expose the tooth, then remove the tooth. Sometimes, it may be necessary to cut the tooth into smaller pieces to make it easier for extraction.

After the surgical procedure, a blood clot will usually form in the empty socket. A gauze pad is packed into the socket and you have to bite down on it to stop any bleeding. In some cases, stitches is required to close the gum edges over the extraction site.

Finally, you’ll receive aftercare instructions to follow at home. This might include taking prescribed medications, applying ice to the affected area, and eating soft foods for a few days.

Overall, tooth extraction is a common, safe procedure that can help maintain your oral health.

How Anesthesia Works

For many, the anesthesia is the most important part of the extraction process as it helps to significantly reduce the pain during the procedure. As such, it is crucial to understand how anesthesia works in tooth extraction to alleviate the fear and anxiety associated with dental procedures.

The primary purpose of anesthesia is to numb the area around the tooth that needs to be extracted. This is achieved by blocking the transmission of nerve signals that communicate pain from the body to the brain. As a result, even though the dental procedure is physically happening, your brain does not receive the signals that should typically trigger a sensation of pain.

Local anesthesia is usually done via an injection into the gum tissue. This might cause a slight prickling sensation, but it quickly subsides as numbness sets in. Once injected, the pain signals are prevented from being sent to the brain, creating a temporary numbing effect. This allows the dentist to perform the extraction without you feeling any pain or discomfort.

In more complicated extractions surgeries, a general anesthetic may be necessary. These anesthetics can be inhaled through a mask or administered through an IV. They induce a state of unconsciousness, where you will not feel any pain or have any memory of the extraction procedure.

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After the extraction, the numbness will gradually wear off. Depending on the type of anesthetic used and your response to it, this could anywhere from an hour to a few hours. Post-procedure guidelines will be provided by the clinic to manage any residual discomfort or pain that can happen when the numbing effect wears off.

Managing Pain After Tooth Extraction

Typically, the pain or swelling can continue for up to 72 hours after the extraction procedure. This should gradually decrease over time as the blood clot form and the wound heals.

To help manage the pain, your dentist may prescribe over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers to manage the post-extraction pain. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, are commonly recommended. However, it’s crucial to follow the prescribed dosage instructions to avoid possible side effects. In some cases, depending on the intensity of the pain, your dentist may prescribe stronger painkillers.

Other ways to manage the pain include the use of a cold pack on the swollen area to reduce swelling and numb the pain. You are recommended to apply the cold pack for at. least 10 minutes each time. As a general rule, always put a layer of cloth between the skin and the ice to prevent any frostbite.

Another important aspect of managing pain after tooth extraction is proper oral hygiene. Keeping the mouth clean can prevent infection, which can exacerbate pain. However, aggressive rinsing or brushing should be avoided near the extraction site to prevent dislodging the blood clot that aids in healing.

Dealing with pain after tooth extraction can be challenging, but with the right pain management strategies, the discomfort can be minimized. If the pain intensifies or you experience symptoms such as fever, prolonged bleeding, or severe swelling, it’s important to contact your dentist as these could be signs of an infection.


To conclude, the very thought of getting your tooth pulled can make one wring in pain. However, the actual process is not as painful as commonly perceived when anesthesia is done. It works by blocking the nerve signals that cause pain from reaching the brain. As such, the extraction procedure as comfortable and painless as possible.

However, it is crucial to remember that each individual’s experience may vary based on factors like the complexity of the extraction, personal pain tolerance, and the dentist’s skill.

As with any medical procedure, the potential risks and complications should first be discussed with your dentist. If you’re dealing with a troublesome tooth, don’t let the fear of pain deter you from seeking treatment. The long-term benefits of tooth extraction, such as pain relief and prevention of further dental problems, often outweigh the temporary discomfort of the procedure.

Erinwood Brady

Brady Erinwood is an accomplished dentist operating in New York City. Renowned for his proficient use of state-of-the-art dental technologies, Dr. Erinwood offers both general and cosmetic dental services and is widely lauded for both his dental makeovers as well as his to enhancing the oral health of his community.