Tooth Extraction

For many people, getting a tooth extracted is a scary experience. However, in most cases, the procedure is quick and relatively painless. Advancements in dental techniques and technology make this common dental procedure faster, easier, and more comfortable than ever.

We understand that having a tooth removed can be stressful. We aim to make the process as comfortable and smooth as possible for our patients. If you’re searching for tooth extraction in Boulder, CO, Lafayette, CO, Louisville, CO, Broomfield, CO, or Longmont, CO, we want to help. Call (303) 444-2255 to schedule a consultation.

Reasons for Tooth Extractions

Extraction of teeth is usually a last resort after other methods, such as fillings, crowns, braces, or root canals have failed. In some cases, teeth may be too damaged to be repaired. 

Other reasons a tooth extraction may be indicated include:

  • Decay. A tooth can become infected with decay if the plaque and tartar on the teeth are not removed. A dental extraction may be warranted if there is not a lot of tooth structure remaining after the decay is removed. 
  • Trauma. When a tooth is broken or knocked out of the mouth, it may be too damaged to repair and will need to be extracted. 
  • Crowding. If there is not enough room in the mouth, the teeth push together so much that it can cause the teeth to become crooked. Extraction may be necessary to make room in the mouth.
  • Orthodontics. It is not always possible to correct the alignment of teeth with braces alone. In some cases, teeth may need to be removed to make room for the rest of the teeth to move into the correct position.
  • Infection. A tooth infection is a serious dental issue that can cause significant damage to the surrounding gums and jawbone. If left untreated, the infection can spread and cause an abscess. If the infection reaches the bone, it may be necessary to have a dental extraction.
  • Periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory process that can cause the gums to pull away from the teeth. If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to bone loss, loose teeth, dental sensitivity and pain, and changes in the appearance of your smile. Sometimes, a tooth may need to be extracted if periodontal disease continues to progress.


During your consultation, your general dentist will examine your mouth and take x-rays. They will ask about your medical history and any medications you are taking. If you are taking certain medications, such as blood thinners, they may ask you to stop taking them before the procedure. 

Questions To Ask

When you meet with your dentist or oral surgeon for a consultation, it is important to ask questions about the procedure. Some questions you may want to ask include:

  • What is the reason for the tooth extraction?
  • What are the risks and benefits of the procedure?
  • What are the alternatives to the procedure?
  • How will the procedure be performed?
  • What can I expect after the procedure?
  • What are the risks of not having the procedure?
  • What type of anesthesia will be used during the procedure?

What To Expect

Most dental extractions are performed in the dentist’s office. The actual extraction is typically quite straightforward. You will hear cracking as the tooth is removed, and you’ll likely find this the most unpleasant part of the procedure. Some patients bring headphones and listen to music to help distract them from the noise. You will feel pressure but no pain as the tooth is removed. Intravenous anesthesia is a great option if you have a needle phobia, a dental phobia, or if you require more than one dental extraction.

The Procedure

There are two types of tooth extractions: simple and surgical.

Simple extraction. This type of procedure is used when the tooth can be seen above the gum line and can be removed with basic dental instruments. Local anesthesia will be used to numb the area around the tooth. The dentist will then use an elevator to loosen the tooth and forceps to remove it.

Surgical extraction. A surgical extraction is used when the tooth is not visible above the gum line or if it is too difficult to remove with basic dental instruments. Local anesthesia or another form of anesthesia may be used for this type of surgical procedure. The dentist will make a small incision in the gum tissue to expose more of the tooth structure. In most cases, we will have to use the drill to cut the tooth into smaller fragments in order to remove it gently. 

Sedation Options

Various sedation options are available to help you relax and feel comfortable during the procedure. Tooth extractions can be performed with local anesthesia, nitrous oxide, intravenous (IV) moderate sedation, or IV deep sedation. Our surgeons will recommend the best type of sedation for you based on your situation.

After the Procedure

After the surgery, it is common to experience:

  1. Bleeding. There will be some bleeding immediately after the procedure. A slight ooze of blood causing blood-tinged saliva is common. Biting on a gauze pad over the extraction site will help control and reduce any bleeding. We will provide gauze for you to take home after your procedure.
  2. Swelling is common but rarely severe. An ice pack applied to the outside of your cheek in 20-minute intervals for the first few hours after surgery can help reduce swelling. Swelling normally peaks on the second or third day after surgery.
  3. Pain should not be severe and should only last a few days. You can take pain medication as needed.
  4. Jaw stiffness is common but should only last a day or two. It may also indicate a pre-existing condition that needs to be addressed. If you have experienced jaw pain or joint popping in the past, make sure to let your dentist know during the initial consultation.

What Is a Dry Socket?

Dry socket, also called alveolar osteitis, is a condition that can occur after a dental extraction. It occurs when the blood clot that typically forms in the extraction site is dislodged or dissolves before the wound has fully healed. This exposes the underlying bone and can lead to pain and discomfort. A dry socket is more common with certain types of extractions, such as wisdom teeth. If you think you might have a dry socket, please contact us so that we can take a look and determine the best course of treatment.


Most patients recover quickly and experience only minor discomfort after tooth extraction. It is important to follow the postoperative instructions given to you by your surgeon to ensure proper healing. Generally, these instructions will include:

  • Keeping the area clean. Avoid directly brushing over the area, but please continue to brush and floss your other teeth regularly. A prescription mouth rinse may be recommended for your case, and you can alternate this with salt water rinses after your surgery.
  • Avoid strenuous activity. Avoid any activity that may increase your heart rate for at least three days after surgery, as this can cause more bleeding and discomfort. Avoid contact sports for at least three days after your surgery.
  • Eat soft food. For the first few days, avoid hard, crunchy, or chewy foods that might irritate the area. Soft foods like soup, mashed potatoes, and eggs are all good options after your surgery.
  • Do not drink through a straw. After surgery, avoiding anything that might dislodge the blood clot in the extraction site is essential. This clot is a natural barrier that protects the area as it heals. The sucking action from drinking through a straw can dislodge the blood clot and cause a dry socket. 
  • Do not smoke or vape for a minimum of 4 weeks following surgery. 

Tooth Extraction Risks

Tooth extraction is a very safe procedure with few risks. The most common expectations are minor and can be easily followed by your dentist or oral surgeon. These include:

  • A dry socket
  • A post-operative Infection
  • Jaw joint stiffness

If you experience any of the following after your dental extraction, it’s best to contact your oral surgeon right away:

  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Worsening swelling that won’t resolve
  • Severe pain that consistently gets worse over time
  • Numbness or tingling in your lips, tongue, or chin

Tooth Extraction Boulder, CO

Tooth extractions don’t need to be a stressful experience. We use the best technology and techniques at Foley and Le Oral Surgery to ensure your procedure is as safe and comfortable as possible. Our skilled and experienced surgeons are experts in tooth extractions and will guide you in what to expect each step of the way. If you need a tooth extraction in Boulder, CO, Louisville, CO, Lafayette, CO, Broomfield, CO, or Longmont, CO, call (303) 444-2255 to schedule an appointment. We are located at 1420 28th Street, Suite 100, Boulder, CO.

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Frequently Asked Questions

When to stop using gauze after wisdom tooth extraction?

Gauze can be applied to the surgical site with gentle biting pressure during the first afternoon after your surgery. Usually, gauze can be changed every 30 minutes. On average, 3-6 gauze changes may be required before the bleeding slows down.

Can I drink coffee after tooth extraction?

It is best to avoid hot liquids for the first 24 hours after your surgery. Tea and coffee should be lukewarm, as excessively hot liquids can affect the clot stability.

Can I vape after tooth extraction?

It is not recommended because it can increase your risk of a dry socket and infection.

Does insurance cover tooth extraction?

Most insurance plans will cover at least a portion of the cost of a dental extraction. Our team is happy to help determine the coverage within your particular insurance plan.

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