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Dental extractions are performed for a variety of reasons including tooth decay, injury, and for orthodontic treatment. Extractions are a relatively common procedure in most dental offices.  The difficulty of the procedure varies depending on the case and the patient; however, anesthesia is used to numb the area and prevent pain during the procedure. 

Types of Extractions

There are two forms of extraction: simple and surgical extractions.

Simple extractions are performed on teeth that can be seen in the mouth. They are removed due to decay or injury and are usually performed under a local anesthetic.  During this procedure, the doctor will grasp the tooth with forceps and loosen it by moving the forceps back and forth.  The loosened tooth will then easily come out. 

Surgical extractions are performed on teeth that have broken off at the gum line or that have not yet come in (e.g. wisdom teeth).  To remove the tooth, the doctor cuts and pulls back the gums allowing access to the area.  This is necessary to see the tooth needing to be removed.  Surgical extractions are usually done with local anesthesia, but a general anesthesia is sometimes preferred. 

Reasons for Tooth Extraction

The most common reason for removal of a tooth is severe decay or breakage of a tooth.  Teeth may also be removed because of:
  • -severe tooth decay or infection
  • -extra teeth blocking other teeth from growing in
  • -severe gum disease
  • -room needed for orthodontic treatment
  • -a tooth that cannot be restored endodontically
  • -fractured teeth
  • -room needed for a dental prosthesis (e.g. bridge or denture)
  • -cosmetic reasons

Regardless of the reasons a tooth must be pulled, extraction is usually reserved only for cases in which no other treatment option will cure the infection or problem.  

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