Tooth extraction is a means of last resort, once decay has reached deep into the tooth or infection has destroyed such a large portion of the tooth that nothing else can be done. When the surrounding bone has been affected or when there is simply not enough room in your mouth for all the teeth. Some dentists even recommend extracting impacted teeth that are only partially erupted due to the risk of bacteria entering around the eruption and causing infection, which can then spread into the surrounding bone are and become much more serious.
Before any teeth are removed you will get a thorough examination of your medical and dental histories. There will also be x-rays done. This will help reveal the length, shape and position of the tooth and surrounding bone. How involved your extraction will be, whether a simple extraction or more involved oral surgery is determined by these x-rays. Before your tooth is removed the area surrounding it will be anesthetized with a local anesthetic to numb the area. It's possible some smoothing to recontour the underlying bone may need to be done. Once all of this is finished, the are may be closed with a stitch.
The most critical thing for after care is to make sure the area remains clean. This will help prevent any infection. For the next 24 hours you should not smoke, rinse your mouth vigorously or clean your teeth next to the extraction. There will be some pain and discomfort, this is to be expected following your extraction. In some cases a prescription pain reliever will be given. Ways to minimize the discomfort are also applying an ice pack to your face for 15 minutes at a time. Limit any strenuous activities and avoid hot liquids. Don't drink through a straw. Under normal circumstances you should see the discomfort lessen over about a 3 day period and no longer than 2 weeks. If the pain persists longer or you have severe pain, swelling, bleeding, or a fever call the office at once.