The goal of dental care is always to preserve your naturally growing teeth. In some cases, however, this may not be possible. Some teeth are simply beyond saving, whether due to a traumatic injury or because of simple decay. In these scenarios, it may be necessary to have the tooth removed and ultimately replaced.

Dr. Matthew Streelman offers his experience in tooth extractions here at Mercer Island Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. Following the extraction, we can also help replace the lost tooth using dental implants. Our surgical care is available to Mercer Island and all surrounding communities.

What Is a Tooth Extraction?

On the most basic level, tooth extraction is pretty straightforward: This is simply the process of removing a tooth that is badly broken, decayed, or otherwise beyond saving.

There are a couple of different options for tooth extraction. Sometimes, when the tooth is fully exposed, we can perform what is known as a simple extraction. This is a quick in-office process wherein the tooth is removed cleanly, typically in one piece.

If the tooth in question is submerged in the gum tissue, or if the tooth has splintered into multiple pieces, then it may be necessary to make an incision to expose more of the tooth and remove it one piece at a time.

We provide both simple tooth extractions and surgical tooth extractions to our patients at Mercer Island Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.


Reasons Why a Tooth Extraction Might Be Necessary

Rarely does anyone actually want to have an adult tooth removed. Your dentist will do everything possible to save your teeth whenever possible. For teeth that are extremely broken down, cracked, or otherwise unsalvageable, extraction may be necessary for restoring function and preventing pain. Extraction may also help prevent further deterioration in the mouth.

Some specific reasons why tooth extraction may be required include:

Severe Decay

While tooth decay can sometimes be treated without the need for extraction, severe decay, reaching the pulp of the tooth, may render the tooth beyond saving.

Periodontal Disease

Adult teeth should never feel loose, and if they do, it may be because of underlying periodontal disease. At times, this can only be addressed by removing the tooth.

Impacted Teeth

We often treat kids and adolescents who have impacted teeth or teeth where they are not supposed to be. Often, this means removing the teeth altogether.

Trauma or Fracture

When a tooth becomes badly broken, it may need to be removed and replaced. This often happens as a result of facial trauma, including car collisions or sports accidents.


Types of Tooth Extractions

When you join us at Mercer Island Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery for a consultation, we can tell you more about whether you need a simple tooth extraction or a surgical tooth extraction.

Simple Tooth Extraction

When the tooth is fully exposed and is still in one piece, it can often be removed through a simple extraction method. Simple tooth extractions are performed while you sit in the dental chair, often under sedation. With simple tooth extraction, your surgeon may use a tool called an elevator to help loosen the tooth, ultimately removing it from its socket with forceps.

Surgical Tooth Extraction

When the tooth is impacted or badly broken, a surgical extraction may be the only solution. This procedure is also often performed under sedation. An incision is made into the gums, exposing more of the tooth that needs to come out. The surgeon will usually cut it into multiple small pieces, allowing it to be removed bit by bit.


How Much Does a Tooth Extraction Cost in the Mercer Island, WA Area?

One of the primary questions our patients ask about tooth extraction is how much it will cost. The price of extraction can vary based on a number of factors. One factor to consider is the number of teeth that need to be removed. Additionally, a surgical tooth extraction will cost more than a simple tooth extraction. We are happy to offer flexible financing options at our practice and invite you to contact our office to find out more about pricing.

Will My Dental Insurance Cover Teeth Extraction?

Often, your insurance will help cover the cost of tooth extraction. This can vary from one policy to the next, so we always recommend checking with the specific detail of your coverage. Our practice will work with you to gain the maximum reimbursement for your tooth extraction, in addition to offering flexible financing.


What to Expect for a Tooth Extraction

Before coming in for a tooth extraction at Mercer Island Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, it may be helpful to learn more about what the procedure entails.

The Initial Consultation

The first step in the process is meeting with Dr. Streelman for a tooth extraction consultation. During this appointment, your surgeon will evaluate your teeth and take some images, providing a fuller picture of the tooth and the underlying bone structure. Additionally, your surgeon will tell you more about the procedure and answer any questions you may have.

Anesthesia Options

To ensure your comfort throughout the procedure, we can offer either IV sedation or local anesthesia. Both options are administered here in-house and will help ensure a more comfortable surgical experience. Full IV sedation will mean you are “out” for your entire tooth extraction. IV sedation can help patients who require lengthier and more complex extractions, who have some anxiety about having their tooth pulled, and who do not wish to have any memories of the surgery. For simpler procedures, we can also offer a localized option. Local anesthesia minimizes pain and discomfort, is faster to apply than IV sedation, and does not cause the same groggy feeling after your procedure that IV sedation causes. For simple extractions performed in the dental chair, local anesthesia is often the best way to go.

During the Procedure

During your tooth extraction, Dr. Streelman will keep you comfortable and safe. Simple tooth extractions involve the tooth being loosened from the socket, then pulled out using a pair of forceps. For a surgical extraction, your surgeon will create an incision, offering better access to the tooth. The tooth will then be divided into smaller pieces, enabling efficient removal.

How Long Does the Procedure Take?

Patients often have questions about the timeframe for a dental procedure. The answer depends on the type of extraction, as well as the number of teeth you are having removed. A simple extraction can take as little as 20 to 30 minutes, while a surgical tooth extraction may last closer to an hour.

Does a Tooth Extraction Hurt?

Another thing our patients are concerned about is pain. We ensure each patient’s comfort, providing sedation options to keep them out of pain during their extraction. While you may experience some soreness after the extraction, this can be mediated with over the counter or prescription medications. Ask your surgeon about pain management and aftercare.


Recovery from a Tooth Extraction Procedure

Following your tooth extraction, you can anticipate a short season of recovery. Here are some guidelines for this important part of the tooth extraction process.

What is the Tooth Extraction Recovery Time? How Long to Heal?

While the specific timeline may vary based on the type of extraction and the location of the tooth, most patients feel back to normal within seven to 10 days. For the first 24 hours, we would recommend resting as much as possible. For about a week thereafter, try to limit your physical activity, specifically staying away from strenuous exercise. Your surgeon will tell you when you are cleared to head back to the gym for a workout.

How Long Should I Expect to Be Out of School or Work?

It is critical that you give your body some time to rest and recover, which typically means asking for a little bit of time off from school or from work. Generally speaking, you should be fine to return to work within two or three days following the removal of your tooth.

Will I Be Able to Eat Immediately After a Tooth Extraction?

After tooth extraction, you may face some dietary restrictions. For at least 24 hours following the procedure, it is recommended that you stick to soft foods and liquids. Also, avoid anything too spicy, which can have an inflammatory effect. You may begin gradually returning to a normal diet within a few days of your procedure.

How Long Will the Pain Last and What Can I Do for Pain Management?

Patients typically report experiencing some pain throughout the first week of their recovery, with the worst of it subsiding after the first 24 to 48 hours. Pain can be managed either with over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers. Our office can provide further information about ensuring a comfortable recovery.


Replacing an Extracted Tooth

Once you have your tooth removed, you will then need to start thinking about having it replaced. There are a number of ways to replace a lost tooth, including dental implants and All-On-4. We are happy to offer both methods at our practice and are always glad to talk with you further about the different options.


Mercer Island’s Compassionate Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon

If you have a tooth that is badly broken or causes you chronic pain, you may need to think about having it extracted. To find out more about what this process entails, reach out to our practice. We are pleased to provide full tooth extraction services to the Mercer Island, WA and surrounding community.