Tooth Extractions

Tooth extractions and emergency tooth extractions may be necessary for your oral health. We’re here to make extractions as easy as possible for a quick recovery.

Your Tooth Extraction Dentist in Santa Barbara County, CA

A tooth extraction is when we remove your tooth from its socket in the bone. While we aim for you to care for and keep your natural teeth, tooth extraction is sometimes in your best interest. At Pathway Dental Group, tooth extractions are typically fast and easy.

We use anesthesia to ensure your comfort. We offer both oral and IV sedation options to provide a more calm, comfortable, and positive experience. Just make sure to follow all instructions for an easy recovery.

illustration of a tooth extraction
  • What is the process for a tooth extraction?

    The tooth extraction process follows these basic steps:

    1. You receive anesthesia to numb the area of your mouth.
    2. The dentist works to remove the tooth from the socket.
    3. You bite down on a gauze pad for 30–45 minutes. Biting on gauze helps a blood clot form. You must be careful not to disturb the blood clot for at least 24 hours.
    4. At home, you manage swelling with ice packs or warm compress and do gentle warm saltwater rinses to keep the area clean.


  • How do I prevent dry socket after tooth extraction?

    The most important part of tooth extraction is your recovery. We need to control bleeding and encourage proper healing. You can usually expect some bleeding, swelling, and discomfort after surgery.

    To slow or prevent bleeding, bite with light pressure on the gauze pack placed over the surgical area. Apply pressure in 20–30-minute intervals and repeat until the bleeding is controlled. If bleeding persists without slowing for several hours, apply gauze soaked in strong tea and repeat the above steps until the bleeding stops. Exercising and heavy lifting will raise your blood pressure, dislodge the blood clot, and resume the bleeding. Avoid exercising for three to five days following the surgery.

    Apply ice packs at 10-minute intervals to the surgical area to prevent or minimize swelling. After 72 hours, apply warm compresses to the area to relieve swelling. Swelling is a natural part of the healing process and can be expected for three days to several weeks, depending on the nature of the surgery.

    Following most surgical procedures, you may experience pain. You will receive medication to help. In most cases, you’ll take a non-narcotic pain regimen consisting of acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil). These two medications, taken together, are as effective as a narcotic without any of the side effects associated with narcotics. If you are prescribed a narcotic, follow the directions carefully.

    Tips for Avoiding Dry Socket

    • For the first or two days, eat soft foods such as applesauce, yogurt, and mashed potatoes.
    • Do not rinse for at least 24 hours after the surgery. When you do rinse, rinse with lips apart.
    • Do not exercise or do heavy lifting for 3–5 days after the surgery.
    • Do not smoke.
    • Do not use mouthwash that contains alcohol, eat overly acidic foods or crunchy foods, or use mints.
    • Do not do anything that creates suction in your mouth, such as drinking through a straw, playing a wind instrument, or snorkeling.
    • Do not touch, lick, or look at the surgical area. Do not pull at cheeks.
    • Do not have any facial massages for at least 3 weeks.
    • Do not wear any bite appliance or tray unless instructed to do so.
    • Do not use an electric toothbrush or floss the surgical area after grafting procedures. Only brush with a prescribed toothbrush as instructed by the office at your post-op appointment.

    Call your doctor if:

    • Profuse bleeding continues after 3-4 hours of applied pressure.
    • You are unable to maintain a nutritious diet after 48 hours.
    • Pain and/or swelling increase after the third day.
    • You have an allergic reaction to medications. Examples include a skin rash, hives, elevated temperature, increased or erratic heart rate, nausea or vomiting, dizziness or fainting, or blurred vision.
  • What causes the need for tooth extraction?

    You may need a tooth extraction if your tooth is broken, damaged or decayed, and we can’t repair it with a filling or crown. Other reasons for tooth extraction include having extra teeth that block others, getting rid of baby teeth that don’t fall out in time for permanent teeth to come in, removing teeth for braces or pulling wisdom teeth for medical reasons. 

More Questions?

If you have more questions about tooth extractions, please contact our office and we will be happy to discuss further.