Tooth Extractions

Why are tooth extractions performed?

A dental extraction is the removal of a tooth from the mouth. Extractions are performed for a wide variety of reasons, including tooth decay that has destroyed enough tooth structure to render the tooth non-restorable. Extractions of impacted or problematic wisdom teeth are routinely performed, as are extractions of some permanent teeth to make space for orthodontic treatment.

Types of Dental Extractions

Extractions are usually considered as “simple” or “surgical”.

Simple extractions are performed on teeth that are visible in the mouth, usually under local anaesthetic, and require only the use of instruments to elevate and/or grasp the visible portion of the tooth. Typically, when teeth are removed with forceps, slow, steady pressure is applied with controlled force.

Surgical extractions involve the removal of teeth that cannot be easily accessed, either because they have broken under the gum line or because they have not erupted fully. Surgical extractions almost always require an incision. In a surgical extraction the doctor may elevate the soft tissues covering the tooth and bone and may also remove some of the overlying and/or surrounding tissue. Frequently, the tooth may be split into multiple pieces to facilitate its removal. To increase the comfort of the patient surgical extractions may be performed under an intravenous or general anaesthetic.

Reasons for Dental Extractions

The most common reason for extraction is tooth damage due to breakage or decay. Additional reasons for tooth extraction include, but are not limited to:

  • Severe tooth decay or infection
  • Teeth which are blocking other teeth from erupting through the gum
  • Gum disease which may affect the supporting tissues and bone structures
  • In preparation for orthodontic treatment (braces)
  • Teeth which cannot be restored endodontically (Root Canal Therapy)
  • Fractured teeth
  • Supenumerary, supplementary or malformed teeth
  • Teeth detrimental to the fit or appearance of dentures
  • Insufficient space for wisdom teeth (impacted third molars)
  • Cosmetic; teeth of poor appearance, unsuitable for restoration
  • Reduced cost compared to other treatments

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