Teeth Extractions

What is a tooth extraction?

A tooth extraction is the removal of a tooth from its socket in the bone.  You are having a tooth removed.

Why does a tooth need to be removed?

If a tooth becomes badly decayed or badly damaged due to trauma then the dentist will have to extract the tooth.  This is usually the very last resort for a dentist to take.  Every attempt to save the tooth, such as capping or crowns, root canals or other procedures that may be used to save the tooth will always be the priority for the dentist.

There are other reasons for teeth to be extracted that do not involve decay or damage.  For instance, some people have extra teeth and these may block other teeth in the mouth.  Or, sometimes baby teeth do not fall out in a timely enough manner and so they are extracted to allow for the adult teeth to grow in.  Also, wisdom teeth that often grow in during someone’s late teens or early 20s, if the wisdom teeth do not line up properly then they may need to be extracted.  And, finally, an individual who is undergoing cancer treatment or radiation treatment may need a tooth pulled because the medicine is likely to cause infections to the teeth.

What do you need to do to prepare for a tooth extraction?

Your dentist will first take an x-ray to determine how best to remove the tooth.  A panoramic x-ray will likely be taken in the case of wisdom teeth extractions.

You will want to be sure to inform the dental staff of your complete medical and dental history and tell your dentist what medications you are on.  Include prescriptions, over-the-counter-drugs and vitamins as any of these may interact differently with any anesthesia.

What is the tooth extraction procedure like?

There are two types of tooth extractions:  Simple and surgical.

A simple extraction is mostly done by a general dentist.  You would likely have a simple extraction if the tooth can be seen; if the tooth is above the gums.  The process is a two-step process that involves the dentist first loosening the tooth with an instrument and then uses another instrument to remove the tooth.  It is a very quick process.

A surgical extraction involves surgery to remove a tooth and is far more complex than a simple extraction.  This is commonly done by an oral surgeon and is used if a tooth has broken below the gum line, or if the tooth has not grown above the gum line yet.  The surgery involves an incision into the gum tissue to expose the tooth.  Then the surgeon will remove the tooth.  It may be necessary for the surgeon to remove part of the bone in some circumstances.


Your dentist will give you specific instructions on what to do after your tooth extraction.  Make sure to ask any specific questions you may have.

When you have a tooth removed, whether it be a simple extraction of a surgical extraction, both types are considered surgery.  You should expect some amount of pain or discomfort following the surgery.  Typically, it is mild.

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