Tooth Extraction

Removing a tooth is necessary when decay or an abscessed tooth is so severe that no other treatment will cure the infection. It can help keep the infection from spreading to other areas of your mouth.

( Video : Tooth Decay and Tooth Extraction )

Reasons for Extracting Teeth

Having a tooth extraction (Pulling a Tooth) in adulthood is sometimes necessary. Although permanent/adult teeth can last a lifetime, teeth that have become damaged or decayed may need to be removed or extracted. A very common reason involves a tooth that is too badly damaged, from trauma or decay, to be repaired. Other reasons include:

  • A crowded mouth. Sometimes dentists extract teeth to prepare the mouth for orthodontics. The goal of orthodontics is to properly align the teeth, which may not be possible if your teeth are too big for your mouth. Likewise, if a tooth cannot break through the gum (erupt) because there is no room in the mouth for it, your dentist may recommend extraction.
  • Infection. If tooth decay or damage extends to the pulp — the center of the tooth containing nerves and blood vessels — bacteria in the mouth can enter the pulp, leading to infection.
  • Risk of infection. If your immune system is compromised (for example, if you are receiving chemotherapy or are having an organ transplant) even the risk of possible infection in a particular tooth may be a reason to remove the tooth.
  • Gum disease. If periodontal disease — an infection of the tissues and bones that surround and support the teeth — have caused loosening of the teeth, it may be necessary to extract the tooth or teeth.
  • Wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth removal is one of the more common categories of tooth extraction. Many dental professionals will recommend removing wisdom teeth (third molars) before they are fully developed — usually in the adolescent years — to help eliminate potential problems. One problem that could occur is development of an impacted tooth that has surfaced and has no room in the mouth to grow. Other problems associated with impacted teeth include infection, decay of adjacent teeth, bite interference and gum disease. Learn more

What to Expect During Treatment

Prior to an extraction, your dentist or oral surgeon will discuss your medical and dental histories and take X-rays. At the extraction appointment, your dentist will numb, or anesthetize, the tooth to be extracted, as well as the jawbone and gums surrounding it. Typically, a local anesthetic such as novocaine or lidocaine is injected to eliminate discomfort.