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Was a Tooth Fragment Left in My Socket After Extraction?

Posted by AllSmiles

I would like to know if my symptoms could mean that my dentist left a broken piece of tooth in the socket after extraction. After getting a second molar extracted in September, I still have pain on the upper left side of my face and behind my eye. I had no symptoms before the extraction. My dentist didn’t mention any complications, but I wonder if I have an infection from a tooth fragment.  My anxiety is escalating again. I barely made it through the extraction appointment. I am anxious about a second procedure. Why didn’t my dentist refer me to an oral surgeon if she saw potential complications? Thank you. Priya, from GA


Your symptoms sound suspicious, especially because they occurred after tooth removal. Your dentist should have informed you if a tooth fragment broke during your extraction.

What Are Symptoms of a Tooth Fragment Left in the Socket After Extraction?

Your gums may heal and close a tooth socket, although a tooth fragment may remain. Leaving a significant fragment behind can lead to infection. You may feel pain in the socket or on the same side of your face as the extraction.

What If a Tooth Breaks During Extraction?

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A tooth may break during extraction due to challenges removing the tooth. Excess cementum or deep tooth roots embedded in bone can make it difficult to remove a tooth. If your dentist noticed anything on your X-ray that could present complications, she could have referred you to an oral surgeon. A dentist’s actions if a tooth breaks during extraction depend on the size and location of the tooth fragment.

  • Small root tip – Depending on the location of the tip, it may be wise to leave it.
  • Large tooth fragment – A dentist should remove the fragment, which may include removing some bone around the root.
  • Root tip near a nerve or sinus – A tooth fragment near a nerve or sinus is risky to remove. If leaving the fragment jeopardizes your oral health, a dentist may refer you to an oral surgeon for the procedure.

We recommend getting a second opinion. Another dentist can x-ray the area to determine whether a fragment remains. Explain your anxiety to the dentist or oral surgeon. They can arrange for sedation to help you relax if the fragment requires removal.


Chandler, Arizona, dentists Dr. William Walden and Dr. Tyrel Beavers sponsor this post. They cater to patients who consider themselves dental cowards.

2425 S Stearman Dr.
Suite 111
Chandler, AZ 85286
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