One of the primary goals of dentistry is to help patients maintain their natural teeth, preserving them for as long as possible. In some instances, however, a tooth may become so damaged or decayed that it is impossible to salvage. In these scenarios, the best course of action may be simply to remove the tooth altogether, then replace it with an artificial crown, bridge, or denture.

For patients who live in the Fairhope, AL area, our practice performs tooth extractions in a way that always prioritizes patient wellness and comfort. To learn more about tooth extractions, contact Minto Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at any time.

What is Tooth Extraction?

A tooth extraction, or dental extraction, refers to the surgical removal of one or more teeth. In some cases, the tooth may be completely visible and in one piece, which means a simple extraction may be sufficient. For teeth that are either impacted or fragmented, a more complex surgical extraction may be required. The type of extraction may dictate the level of sedation required, as well as the length of your recovery.

Why is Tooth Extraction Necessary?

There are many reasons why a patient may need a tooth extraction. Basically, this procedure is recommended any time the tooth is badly damaged and when all other treatments have been exhausted.

Some of the most common reasons for a tooth extraction include:

The tooth has become badly broken, possibly due to a collision or traumatic accident.

The tooth is significantly decayed or degraded because of periodontal disease.

There is an abscess around the tooth, causing significant pain.

The tooth is impacted, erupting just partially or not erupting at all through the gum tissue.

If you are experiencing any of these issues, your best option may be to schedule a tooth extraction. Contact Minto Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery to learn more.

Am I a Good Candidate for Tooth Extraction?

Some patients come to us because their regular dentist identifies a problem that requires careful extraction. In other cases, patients come to us directly, experiencing significant pain or swelling that they believe can only be addressed with the removal of their tooth.

If you are experiencing chronic pain or swelling due to one of your teeth, or if you have a permanent tooth that either has not erupted or is badly out of alignment, we recommend learning more about your options for tooth extraction.

Meet Your Oral Surgeon

As you consider your options for tooth extraction in Fairhope, AL, take some time getting to know Dr. David Minto. Dr. Minto has family roots in the Mobile Bay area and is thrilled to now live in the area with his wife and daughter. His passion is for creating a warm, welcoming, personable practice environment and for providing his patients with compassionate care. When he is not treating patients, Dr. Minto enjoys saltwater fishing. Check out Dr. Minto’s bio to learn more.

Simple Extraction vs. Surgical Extraction

Depending on the nature of your problem, you may qualify for either simple tooth extraction or surgical extraction.

A simple extraction is typically performed under local anesthesia and can sometimes take no more than 15 to 20 minutes to complete. A simple extraction is usually reserved for instances where there is just one tooth that needs to be taken out, the tooth has fully erupted, and there is not significant breakage.

A surgical extraction will often call for IV sedation. Once you are fully sedated, your oral surgeon will make a small incision along the gum line, revealing the tooth root. There may sometimes be bones or other tissues in the way which will need to be removed. The tooth may be removed in one piece or sliced into smaller pieces and removed bit by bit.

The best way to find out which type of extraction you need is to schedule a one-on-one consultation with an oral surgeon.

Tooth Extraction: The Process

For those who have never had a tooth extracted, the prospect may seem a little intimidating. It may be helpful to learn a little bit more about what the extraction process entails.

While the specifics can change from one patient to the next, tooth extraction usually follows this basic timeline.


The process always begins with a one-on-one consultation. Your oral surgeon will perform a physical examination of your teeth and gums and perhaps also take some X-rays and other images. This allows the surgeon to develop a treatment plan that is right for you. Additionally, this is a great opportunity to ask any questions you may have about tooth extraction or about the recovery process.


If you have any untreated tooth or gum disease, your oral surgeon may recommend having that cleared up before the extraction. Additionally, you and your surgeon can talk about the different options for sedation. At Minto Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, we are committed to a comfortable experience for every patient, and that means providing the right level of sedation to meet each patient’s needs.


Once you have been properly sedated, your oral surgeon will perform the extraction. A simple extraction may involve the tooth being loosened with hand tools, including elevators, hammers, or chisels, then removed with a pair of dental forceps. For a surgical extraction, an incision will be made to provide access to the tooth, which may be removed one piece at a time.

How Long Does the Process Take? 

The duration of your tooth extraction depends on how many teeth you are having removed and the type of extraction. A simple extraction for a single tooth may take no more than 20 minutes, while more complex extractions can last for an hour.

Will Tooth Extraction Hurt? 

While our sedation options prevent any pain during your extraction, there may sometimes be some pressure involved. If that is something that worries you, talk to your oral surgeon about utilizing higher levels of sedation.

Will My Dental Insurance Pay for Tooth Extraction?

One of the most common questions we hear from patients is whether or not their dental insurance will cover the cost of extraction.

Generally speaking, tooth extraction is deemed medically necessary, helping restore oral health and hygiene when a tooth can no longer be salvaged. In these situations, most dental insurance plans will cover at least part of the cost of extraction. Of course, all dental policies are different, and it is always wise to check the terms of your specific dental policy.

Our office will be happy to work with you to maximize the insurance reimbursement you receive following your tooth extraction.

Recovery from Tooth Extraction

Following the extraction of a tooth, you will need to allow your mouth some time to rest and recover. During this time, it is important to follow a few basic guidelines to prevent infection, to keep pain at bay, and to enable you to bounce back as quickly as possible. Here are a few guidelines for the tooth extraction recovery process.

How Long Should I Take Off from School or Work?

Following any kind of surgical procedure, it is important to allow your body some time to regather its strength. For those who have a tooth pulled, we recommend resting and relaxing for at least the first 24 hours and abstaining from vigorous exercise for at least three to five days. Most patients will want to take a couple of days off from school or work; after that, you will likely feel prepared to return to your normal activities. One way to maximize your rest time is to schedule your extraction for mid-week, take a couple of days off, then enjoy some further relaxation over the weekend.

How Can I Manage Pain Following a Tooth Extraction?

You can anticipate a little bit of soreness following a tooth extraction. The pain will likely begin a few hours after your procedure, once the sedation starts to wear off, and will be at its worst over the first 24 to 48 hours. Most patients report that the pain recedes within the first week or so.

For some patients, the pain is mild enough that it can be managed with over-the-counter remedies. Be sure to ask your oral surgeon about the OTC medications that are most highly recommended. For those who need prescription pain medications, your surgeon can provide one; be sure to take only as directed.

What About Bleeding and Swelling?

Following your extraction, the incision site will be wrapped in a gauze bandage to minimize bleeding. You can take it off after an hour, but you will likely have some additional bleeding off and on for the first day. You can curb the bleeding by biting down on gauze pads, switching them out if they become blood-soaked. If you have significant bleeding past the first day, call your oral surgeon.

Swelling can be expected within the first week. A simple way to mediate the swelling is to apply an ice pack, use it for 15 minutes, then set it aside for a while.

When Can I Eat Following a Tooth Extraction?

You are cleared to eat within an hour of your extraction after you remove the gauze bandage. For the first 24 hours, it is best to stick with soft foods and liquids. We would also recommend that you avoid anything hot or spicy, as these foods can cause inflammation. A few examples of what you can eat following a tooth extraction include:

● Smoothies
● Yogurt
● Ice cream
● Cold soup or broth
● Applesauce
● Mashed banana
● Mashed potatoes

Additionally, avoid drinking from a straw; the suction can cause discomfort or damage to your incision site.

Over the course of the first week, you can gradually shift back to a normal diet as you begin to feel more comfortable. Take it easy, however, and remember that the area where you had a tooth pulled is going to be a bit tender.

What Else Can I Do to Ensure a Smooth Recovery?

We would always recommend that our patients abstain from smoking or using any tobacco products, which can slow down your body’s healing abilities. Additionally, rinse your mouth with salt water periodically throughout the day, which can help you minimize your risk of infection.

If you have any specific questions about recovering from a pulled tooth, do not hesitate to contact Minto Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at any time. We are always glad to talk with patients about the steps they can take to remain comfortable and to expedite their recovery.

What Our Patients Have To Say

Replacing Lost Teeth: What are the Options?

Before you have your tooth pulled, we encourage you to talk with your oral surgeon about the different options for tooth replacement. Not only will this result in a confident smile, but it also prevents you from having any additional degradation of your jaw bone or underlying tissue.

While there are a few options for replacing teeth, many patients find that the best bet is to get dental implants. Implants represent a more secure, comfortable, and lasting alternative to dentures. We are pleased to provide dental implant services here at Minto Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, and are happy to tell you more about the available options.

Should I Consider a Tooth Extraction?

While nobody ever dreams of having a tooth pulled, doing so may sometimes be the shortest path to pain relief and to improved oral health and hygiene. And, thanks to dental implants and other options, it may also be the first step toward achieving a restored and confident smile.

Schedule Your Consultation

If you have any questions about your need for tooth extraction, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Minto today by calling us at (251) 319-7710.