A variety of issues including decay, injury, or orthodontics can require that a tooth be extracted. Extractions are relatively standard procedures in most dental practices. The difficulty of extraction varies with each patient and tooth. Local anesthesia numbs the extraction site and surrounding area to eliminate pain during the procedure.
Types of Extractions
There are two types of tooth extractions: simple and surgical.
Simple extractions remove teeth that are visible and accessible in the mouth. These teeth are usually removed because of decay or injury. Removal is done under a local anesthetic. The doctor will clasp forceps around the tooth and use back and forth motions to begin prying the tooth loose from the jaw bone. Once loosened, the tooth is easily removed.
Surgical extraction is required when teeth are either broken at the gum line, or have not grown in, as often seen with wisdom teeth. To remove the unexposed tooth, the doctor must surgically cut back the gum to access the tooth. Surgical extractions are usually done with local anesthesia, although general anesthesia is sometimes preferred by doctor and/ or patient.
Reasons for Tooth Extraction
Teeth are most often removed because they are either severely decayed or broken. Other reasons for extraction include:
- • Severe decay or infection
- • Extra teeth preventing others from properly growing in
- • Severe gum disease
- • To make space for orthodontic adjustments
- • A tooth’s health cannot be restored endodontically (via a root canal)
- • Fractured or broken teeth
- • To make room for a dental prosthetic like a bridge or denture
- • Cosmetic purposes
Whatever the reason, extraction is generally only considered when other treatments are inadequate to address the problem posed by the tooth.