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Emergency Tooth Extraction

There are many different causes of toothaches. If you are in severe pain, you may be wondering whether you are in need of emergency dental care or whether you should schedule an appointment with your regular dentist. 

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In this article, we will list common reasons for emergency tooth extractions. If you believe that you are in need of an urgent dental appointment, call an emergency dentist in your area.

The dental office should be able to inform you whether or not your case is an emergency and advise you on your treatment options and whether you should make an appointment for the same day or the next day.

Dental Emergency Causes

The most common reasons for emergency tooth extractions are:


cracked molar

Accidents and injuries are prevalent causes of emergency dental problems.

Sports injuries, car, motorcycle and bicycle accidents, biting down on hard foods, and falls can cause dental trauma. These injuries often result in minor problems such as chipped or cracked teeth. However, more serious trauma, especially if it causes a serious amount of pain, may necessitate an emergency tooth extraction. 

Your dentist will take an x-ray of the affected area and make a decision based on the condition and location of the tooth and its surrounding area.

They may try other treatment options to save your tooth, but if the fracture is quite severe or there is an infection in the area, it’s likely they will perform an emergency tooth extraction.


Infections are another common cause of emergency oral health procedures. They occur when bacteria make their way inside the tooth (dental abscess) or gum tissue. Common causes of dental infections include:

  • Cavities and tooth decay
  • Chipped or cracked teeth
  • Gum disease (periodontal disease) 
  • Impacted wisdom teeth
  • Failed root canal therapy or restorations 
  • Dental procedures such as root canals
  • Ill-fitting dental apparatus such as dentures

Symptoms of oral infections include:

  • Severe, throbbing tooth pain that may spread to the ear, jawbone, or neck
  • Fever
  • Swelling of the face or cheek (cellulitis)
  • Extreme tooth sensitivity
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Malodor
  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing

Tooth Decay

Decay is caused by untreated plaque and tartar buildup on your teeth. It causes the crown, or top of the tooth, to demineralize and break down, creating a hole. This makes the tooth soft and porous and allows bacteria, food, and liquids to enter the tooth and cause pain. Tooth decay may present as brown or black spots, however, sometimes it is only visible via x-rays.

Stages of Dental Decay

Symptoms That May Indicate a Dental Emergency

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may be in need of emergency dental care, and should contact help immediately:

  • Severe sensitivity or pain in your teeth or gums
  • Swelling of the cheek, throat, or eye
  • Loose teeth
  • White fluid or pus in your mouth
  • Discoloration or darkening of your teeth

What to Expect at an Emergency Tooth Extraction

There are three types of emergency tooth extractions:

  • Simple extractions — can be performed if the tooth is visible above the gum line and can be grasped and removed by forceps.
  • Surgical extractions — are performed when part of the gum tissue or bone surrounding the tooth needs to be removed. The tooth may need to be surgically sectioned to remove.
  • Wisdom tooth extractions — are performed when wisdom teeth are impacted or could potentially cause other dental health problems. They are usually removed via surgical extractions.

While the procedure will vary depending on the condition and location of the affected teeth, your overall health, and the oral surgeon’s practice, most emergency tooth extractions will follow the same steps:

  1. Anesthetic a local anesthetic will be injected into the area surrounding your teeth. In some cases, especially for surgical extractions, or if the patient suffers from dental anxiety, conscious sedation via drugs taken orally, intravenously (IV), or inhaled (nitrous oxide) may be used to put the patient under.
  2. Wait time this will take a few minutes to work, during which the tooth and surrounding area will become numb.
  3. Widen the tooth socket the dentist will use tools (forceps or elevators) to apply pressure to the tooth from different directions. This will open up the tooth socket and make it easier to remove and help avoid fracturing the tooth. 
  4. Remove the tooth The dentist will then use the forceps to firmly grasp the tooth and rock it back and forth. They may also rotate the tooth to separate it from its ligaments. 
  5. Stitches Once the tooth is removed the doctor may place one or two stitches to close the wound.
  6. Recovery Depending on the procedure, you may be prescribed pain medication. However, over-the-counter medication is usually enough to manage pain.

How Much Does an Emergency Tooth Extraction Cost?

The cost of an emergency tooth extraction will vary depending on the location of the tooth, type of tooth extraction, location of your dentist, and your dental insurance plan. Typical costs are:

Type of ExtractionCost (per tooth)
Simple Extraction$130 to $250
Surgical Extraction$250 to $370
Wisdom Tooth Extraction$300 to $500
Last updated on November 27, 2021
7 Sources Cited
Last updated on November 27, 2021
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. AAOMS. “Tooth Extraction: Simple vs. Surgical Tooth Removal.” AAOMS Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, June 2019,
  2. ADA. “ADA Guide to Extractions – Tooth and Remnants.” America's Leading Advocate for Oral Health, American Dental Association, 1 June 2019,
  3. Akinbami, Babatunde O., and Thikan Godspower. “Dry Socket: Incidence, Clinical Features, and Predisposing Factors.” International Journal of Dentistry, 2 June 2014, doi:10.1155/2014/796102
  4. Al-Khateeb, Taiseer Hussain, and Amir Alnahar. “Pain Experience After Simple Tooth Extraction.” Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, vol. 66, no. 5, 2008, pp. 911–917., doi:10.1016/j.joms.2007.12.008
  5. Friedlich, Joseph, and Nick Blanas. “Management of Post-Surgical Pain.” JCDA, Canadian Dental Association, 18 Dec. 2013,
  6. Johnson, Jordan. “Tooth Extraction: A Few Simple Guidelines.” PatientSmart Patient Education Center, American Dental Association, 2013,
  7. Erazo, David, and David R. Whetstone. “Dental Infections.” StatPearls, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 3 Oct. 2020,
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