Tooth Extraction

Reasons for a tooth extraction:

  • Some people have extra teeth that block other teeth from coming in.
  • People getting braces may need teeth extracted to create room for the teeth that are being moved into place.
  • People receiving radiation to the head and neck may need to have teeth in the field of radiation extracted.
  • People receiving cancer drugs may develop infected teeth. These drugs weaken the immune system, increasing the risk of infection. Infected teeth may need to be extracted.
  • People receiving an organ transplant may need some teeth extracted if the teeth could become sources of infection after the transplant. People with organ transplants have a high risk of infection because they take drugs that decrease or suppress the immune system.
  • Wisdom teeth, also called third molars, are often extracted. They commonly come in during the late teens or early twenties. These teeth often get stuck in the jaw (impacted) and do not come in. They need to be removed if they are decayed or cause pain. Some wisdom teeth are blocked by other teeth or may not have enough room to come in completely. This can irritate the gum, causing pain and swelling. In this case, the tooth must be removed.

Two Types of Extractions

A simple extraction is performed on a tooth that can be seen in the mouth. General dentists commonly do simple extractions. Most of these can be done using just an injection (a local anesthetic), with or without anti-anxiety drugs. In a simple extraction, the dentist will grasp the tooth with forceps and loosen it by moving the forceps back and forth. Then the tooth will be pulled out. Sometimes the dentist will use a dental “elevator” to help loosen the tooth. This is an instrument that fits between the tooth and the gum.

A surgical extraction involves teeth that cannot be seen easily in the mouth. They may have broken off at the gum line or they may not have come in yet.