Tooth extractions are a common practice for oral surgeons and dentists. While many patients don’t generally want to have a tooth removed, when the procedure is required, they are often very thankful for them.

A tooth extraction is a medical procedure that removes the tooth from the socket. A dentist will thoroughly check the tooth, gums, and underlying bone condition before performing an extraction. Dentists typically try to find any option that would save the tooth and keep the mouth in great condition, but when this isn’t possible, an extraction can be prescribed.

Understanding Extractions

There are two types of extractions that can be performed. The first is called a simple extraction. A simple extraction is used when the tooth is visible and can easily be accessed. Typically, a simple extraction is performed with the use of a local anesthetic and doesn’t require patients to be unconscious with a general sedative.

In contrast, surgical extractions are used when the tooth is difficult to access, or if it has not fully erupted or broken through the gumline. When using this procedure, surgeons often must make an incision into the gums to access the tooth. Additionally, the tooth may be split into smaller portions to assist in the overall removal. Surgical extractions are typically performed under general anesthesia, and patients are not conscious of the operation.

Why Tooth Extraction is Necessary

People have two different sets of teeth, their milk, or baby teeth and their permanent teeth. When your milk teeth become loose and fall out, they are replaced by your permanent teeth. Your permanent teeth can often last through your entire lifetime. However, tooth extraction can become necessary if there is:

  • Irreparable Damage – Sometimes the tooth can become so decayed from infection, that the tooth can no longer function. This can occur when the infection has reached the interior of the tooth and severely damaged the pulp of the tooth. Sometimes infections in the pulp can be removed through a root canal, and the tooth can be saved. If this isn’t an option, extraction is the only way to remove the infection from the patient’s mouth.

  • Periodontal Disease – Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissues of the mouth, like the gums, ligaments, bone, or other structures surrounding the teeth. Periodontal disease can be diagnosed in the early stages when it is gingivitis, but in more advanced cases, it can compromise the bone structure that holds your teeth in place. If this occurs, the teeth may not be able to be properly secured in the jaw and extraction can become the best option.

  • Impacted Teeth – Impacted teeth occur when the tooth cannot fully erupt from the mouth. This can mean that the adjacent teeth can be pushed out of alignment, overcrowd teeth, and leaves your overall oral health at a higher risk of infection. In these instances, your dentist may recommend tooth extraction. Impacted teeth are often the reason that wisdom teeth are removed.

  • An Accident – Sometimes accidents cause severe trauma to the mouth and teeth. In these cases, it may render the tooth too damaged to save. While your dentist will attempt to save the tooth, you may end up receiving a recommendation for tooth extraction followed by a dental crown, bridge, or implant to replace the tooth. Many athletes can avoid this damage by wearing the appropriate safety equipment, including specialty mouthguards.


Tooth extraction is typically the last line of defense that a dentist must maintain your oral health. While extractions are the last option, not treating the tooth can lead to infection of the jaw or face that is much more difficult to treat. If you think that you may need a tooth extraction, contact your dentist today. Your dentist may be able to save the tooth, but it requires you to make the appointment now.