You are currently viewing Can a Dentist Pull an Infected Tooth? Tooth Extraction, Explained.


 Medically Reviewed by Dr. Charles Dennis, DMD, on December 1, 2023

When you experience tooth pain or notice signs of infection in your mouth, it’s important to seek dental care as soon as possible. In some cases, the best course of action may be to extract the infected tooth. But can a dentist pull an infected tooth? Let’s explore the tooth extraction process and when it might be necessary.

What is Tooth Extraction?

Tooth extraction is the process of removing a tooth from the socket in your jawbone. This is typically done by a dentist or oral surgeon and can be necessary for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Severe tooth decay
  • Gum disease
  • Impacted teeth
  • Crowding
  • Trauma or injury
  • Infection

When Is Tooth Extraction Necessary?

Tooth extraction may be necessary in cases where a tooth cannot be saved through other means, such as a root canal or other dental procedures. Extraction may be the best option to prevent further damage and infection if a tooth is severely damaged or decayed.

In cases of infection, a dentist may first attempt to treat the infection with antibiotics or other medications. However, if the infection is severe or has spread to the surrounding tissues, tooth extraction may be necessary to prevent the infection from spreading further.

Can a Dentist Pull an Infected Tooth?

Yes, a dentist can pull an infected tooth. In fact, this is a common reason for tooth extraction. Before the extraction, your dentist will numb the area around the affected tooth with a local anesthetic to minimize pain and discomfort during the procedure.

If the infection is severe or the tooth is impacted, your dentist may need to make a small incision in the gum tissue to access the tooth. Once the tooth is removed, your dentist will clean the area and may prescribe antibiotics to prevent further infection.


Tooth extraction explained with Abington Center Dentistry, an emergency dentist located in Scranton, PA

Why won’t a dentist pull an acutely infected tooth?

A dentist may choose not to pull an acutely infected tooth because of the risk of spreading the infection. If a tooth is acutely infected, it means that the infection has progressed rapidly and is causing significant pain and inflammation. In some cases, the infection may have spread beyond the tooth to the surrounding tissues, including the gums and jawbone.

Potential Complications

If a dentist were to pull an acutely infected tooth, there is a risk that the infection could spread even further, potentially leading to more serious complications such as systemic infection or even sepsis. Additionally, the inflammation and swelling caused by the infection can make it more difficult to numb the area with local anesthesia, making the extraction more painful for the patient.

Your Dentist May Prescribe Antibiotics

Instead of immediately pulling an acutely infected tooth, a dentist may first prescribe antibiotics and recommend other treatments to reduce the infection and inflammation. Once the infection is under control, the dentist can then assess whether extraction is still necessary or if other treatments, such as a root canal or other restorative procedures, may be an option.

#1 Priority is Ensuring Client Safety

Sometimes, the dentist may need to wait a few days or weeks after starting antibiotics before attempting an extraction to allow time for the infection and inflammation to subside. Ultimately, the dentist’s goal is to ensure the safety and well-being of the patient while effectively treating the underlying infection and any other dental issues.

What to Expect After Tooth Extraction

After tooth extraction, it’s normal to experience some pain and swelling in the affected area. Your dentist will provide instructions on managing the pain and care for the extraction site. You may need to avoid certain foods or activities for a few days while the area heals.

In some cases, your dentist may recommend replacing the extracted tooth with a dental implant or other restoration to prevent other teeth from shifting and maintain the structure of your jawbone.


Tooth extraction may be necessary in severe decay, infection, or trauma cases. If you are experiencing tooth pain or signs of infection, it’s important to seek dental care as soon as possible. While the idea of tooth extraction may be daunting, rest assured that a dentist can pull an infected tooth safely and with minimal discomfort. With proper care and follow-up, you can return to your normal activities and maintain a healthy smile.

Emergency Dentist in Scranton

Abington Center for Cosmetic and Family Dentistry offers dental urgent care for emergency tooth extractions near Scranton, in Clarks Summit, PA. If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, it is a good idea to contact us to schedule an emergency dental appointment:

  • Severe tooth or mouth pain
  • A loose permanent tooth
  • A cracked or broken tooth
  • Bleeding from your gums, cheeks, or tongue
  • Facial or mouth injuries
  • Swelling in your mouth, gums, or tongue
  • A laceration or tear on your lips
  • Knocked-out teeth

Contact us today to schedule your appointment!

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