Risks of Tooth Extraction
A problem known as a dry socket develops in about 3% to 4% of all extractions. This occurs when a blood clot is not formed in the hole or if it breaks down too soon.
In a dry socket, the underlying bone is exposed to the oral environment. This can be very painful and can cause a bad taste or odor. Dry sockets typically start to cause pain the third day after surgery.
Dry socket occurs up to 30% of the time when impacted teeth are removed. Difficult extractions can also increase the odds of a dry socket. Smoking on the day of surgery also increases the risk. Smokers and women who are taking birth control pills have higher odds of getting a dry socket. A dry socket needs to be treated with a medicated dressing to stop the pain and promote healing.
Infection can take place following an extraction. However, you likely won’t develop an infection if you have a healthy immune system.
Other potential problems are:
- Accidental damage to nearby teeth, like cracking of fillings
- An incomplete extraction, where a tooth root remains in the jaw — Your dentist will usually remove the root to avoid infection, but sometimes it is less of a risk to leave a small root tip in place.
- A fractured jaw from the pressure applied to the jaw during tooth removal — This occurs more often in older people with osteoporosis (thinning) in the jaw bone.
- The sinus is punctured during extraction of an upper back tooth (molar) — A small hole will usually will heal by itself in a few weeks. If not, more surgery may be required.
- Jaw muscles and/or jaw joint soreness — Opening your mouth wide may be difficult. This can happen because of the injections, holding your mouth open and/or lots of pressure on your jaw.
- Numbness in the lower lip and chin lasting for a long period of time — This is an rare issue. This is due to injury to the inferior alveolar nerve in the lower jaw. Complete healing can take three to six months. In rare cases, the numbness may be permanent.