How long does a tooth extraction take?
On average, you can expect the entire process to take anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes for a single tooth, depending on a few factors, including:
- Whether local anesthesia or general anesthesia is used
- The type and location of the teeth being removed (i.e., front teeth vs. wisdom teeth)
- If there are any complications
In our guide below, we will take you through the process, outlining each part of the procedure and the amount of time typically spent at the dentist’s office for a tooth extraction.
Table of contents
The tooth extraction process
The entire tooth extraction process typically takes between 20 to 40 minutes for a single tooth, depending on the type of tooth being removed and if it is a wisdom or impacted tooth.
For each additional tooth, you can add 3 to 15 minutes to the procedure.
Before the procedure begins, you will start by speaking with the dental assistant or dentist about the procedure and have any of your questions answered. Depending on how many questions you have or other information you may need to go over, this may take between 10 and 30 minutes.
Your tooth extraction will begin with your dentist giving you a local anesthetic, or perhaps a general anesthetic if you have an impacted tooth or are having several teeth removed.
A general anesthetic will put you to sleep during the oral surgery, while the local anesthetic will not.
This is a very simple, painless part of the process that will numb your mouth so that you don’t have any pain during the actual tooth extraction. While it doesn’t take very long, it’s an important step so that you are as comfortable as possible for the surgery.
The numbing process usually takes somewhere between 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the type of anesthetic used to numb the area.
Pulling the tooth
Once your mouth is numb, you are now ready to have your tooth removed. During this process, the socket is enlarged by loosening the tooth and pulling it out. Although you shouldn’t feel pain, it’s possible that you may feel some pressure. That’s completely normal.
The process of pulling your tooth make take between 3 and 15 minutes, depending on the tooth.
Once the tooth is pulled, your dentist will place gauze in the socket for you to bite down on. This is very important because it will help form the blood clot and stop you from bleeding.
It’s also possible that your dentist will use a few stitches to close the gum tissue over the extraction site. Most of the time, dentists use self-dissolving stitches for tooth extractions.
If the blood clot were to become dislodged, you could develop a potentially painful complication called dry socket. If this happens, call your dentist so that they can get you back on the road to recovery.
Oral surgery for complex extraction
If your tooth is impacted (meaning it hasn't fully emerged from the gums), it could mean a more complex dental extraction.
In this case, the dentist will actually cut the gum tissue and bone tissue that is covering the impacted tooth and then loosen it from your jawbone and ligaments to pull it out. This can be common when having wisdom teeth removed.
Once the tooth extraction is complete, you can head home! But because you've had anesthesia, make sure there's someone with you to accompany you home.
Your dental team will also go over all instructions for taking care of yourself once you are home, which will help you heal properly and have a quick and easy recovery. This will involve a list of things you should and shouldn’t do and when you can eat solid foods (and what food to eat).
Of course, if you have any questions or concerns after your surgery, you should call your dentist.
How long will your oral surgery appointment need to be?
The amount of time your appointment will take depends on the procedure, how many extractions you are having, and how impacted the teeth may be.
You will need to account for time for:
- Speaking with the dental assistant prior to the procedure
- Procedure preparations, including anesthetics
- The actual procedure
- Recovering after the procedure and waiting for the anesthesia to wear off
Overall, the entire appointment process from start to finish will take an average of 20 to 50 minutes depending on the number of teeth you need to get pulled.
How long does it take to have a tooth extraction?
The actual tooth extraction doesn't take very long at all. In fact, it usually only takes between only 3 and 15 minutes to have a single tooth pulled, as long as there are no complications. However, if you are having additional teeth extracted, each tooth may take an additional 3 to 15 minutes.
Of course, you will still need to take into account the other parts of the process, including pre-surgery discussion, numbing, and recovery post-surgery.
Types of extraction
How long it takes to extract your tooth or teeth will depend on the tooth itself. For instance, some teeth, like the lower incisor have shorter, single roots, which makes them easier to extract.
Your dentist will determine which type of extraction your teeth will require and then be able to give you a better idea of how long the extraction will take.
Erupted vs. impacted teeth
If your teeth have erupted, that means they have come through the gums and are going to be easier to extract.
However, if the teeth are impacted, or have not erupted from the gums (which is common with wisdom teeth), your dentist will need to cut the gum to get to your teeth first before they can be pulled. This can make the extraction process take longer.
Simple extraction vs. complicated extraction
The quickest, easiest extraction is a simple extraction. This is when the tooth has fully come through the gums, can be seen, and isn’t broken or damaged. Your dentist can pull the tooth by loosening it first and then pulling it out.
A more complicated extraction may occur if the tooth hasn’t erupted yet or has broken. This may require a surgical extraction where your dentist will make a small incision into your gum to remove the tooth from your mouth.
Front teeth vs. molars/wisdom teeth
Front teeth are relatively uncomplicated because they are round with a single or straight root shape. This means there isn’t a lot of resistance when the tooth is being extracted.
Molars and wisdom teeth, however, are a different story. They are bigger teeth and have multiple roots that are attached more firmly to the socket. In addition to this, their location at the back of your mouth makes them harder to access for your dentist.
So, as you can see, molars and wisdom teeth require a longer amount of time for the removal process because they are more difficult to remove.
Whole teeth vs. damaged/broken teeth
Whole teeth are certainly less complicated to have extracted than damaged or broken teeth. This is because with a damaged or broken tooth, your dentist will likely need to make an incision into the gum tissue and remove the individual broken pieces of the tooth separately.
Extractions involving damaged or broken teeth mean you can expect the removal process to take more time.
Now you can see that there are a lot of factors to take into account when determining just how many minutes you will be sitting in the dentist’s chair.
It could take more time than you originally planned for, especially if there are complications or if it’s a more complex surgery. Even for normal procedures, which will take on average 20 to 50 minutes for the entire appointment, you'll want to set aside plenty of time afterward to rest and recover. Be sure to plan your schedule accordingly.