Tooth extraction is when a tooth is completely removed from its socket in the bone. There are many reasons why teeth might need to be extracted, including:
- Teeth with extensive decay, or that are broken or cracked and cannot be repaired
- Teeth whose supporting bone or gum have been damaged to that the tooth is loose and unable to be supported
- 3rd molars or wisdom teeth that are in a position that might irritate the mouth
- Wisdom teeth are often removed because they are in a position that is hard to clean, which makes them at greater risk for decay and periodontal disease
- Impacted teeth that are unable to erupt from the gum due to position or alignment with the jaw
- Cases where a large discrepancy exists between the size of a patient’s jaws and the needed space for the improved alignment of teeth
When a tooth is removed, care is taken to insure that the bone surrounding it isn’t damaged. Sometimes during the process, a small amount of lab-processed bone grafting material is placed into the socket to help preserve the bone volume. This is particularly important if the extraction will be followed by placement of a dental implant.
How will you know if my tooth needs to be extracted?
We do a visual examination of your mouth to determine if a tooth should be extracted. Radiographs (x-rays) are taken to assess the position of the tooth roots and the condition of the surrounding bone. Your medical history will be reviewed to insure that you are healthy enough to undergo the procedure.
Is tooth extraction painful?
Before extracting a tooth, we will discuss with you the options to make you as comfortable and pain free as possible. Usually a patient is given a local anesthesia which numbs the entire area of the mouth. With a simple extraction, the dentist is able to loosen the tooth and remove it in one piece. You may feel pressure as this happens, but should not feel pain, due to the numbing of the area.
A surgical extraction may be necessary if the tooth is broken off below the gum line, or if potential problems are revealed in the radiograph. In this case, additional sedatives may also be used, including sedatives in pill form, or general anesthesia, which is given intravenously. IV sedation is generally required for more complicated or multiple extractions. These types of extractions are generally performed by an oral surgeon.
What care do I need to take after the extraction?
Your dentist will talk to you about taking care of the area after extraction. See our Home Instructions for directions after extractions.