An extraction is the removal of a tooth from its socket in the bone. Although we will try to fix a damaged tooth with a filling, crown or other restorative treatments, a tooth that has been broken or damaged due to decay or an injury, requires an extraction in order to prevent infections from spreading through the mouth. A very loose tooth also will require extraction if it can't be saved, even with bone replacement surgery.

There are two types of extractions:

  • A simple extraction – This involves loosening the tooth with an instrument called an elevator, and then the use of forceps to remove the tooth.
  • A surgical extraction – this is a more complex procedure, which is used if a tooth may have broken off at the gum line or has not erupted in the mouth. It involves small incisions made into the gum to surgically remove a broken tooth or an impacted wisdom tooth.

There are many reasons why an extraction is necessary. These reasons are:

  • Some people have extra teeth that block other teeth from coming in.
  • Sometimes baby teeth don't fall out in time to allow the permanent teeth to come 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 because these drugs weaken the immune system. Infected teeth may need to be extracted.
  • Some teeth may need to be extracted if they could become a source of infection after an organ transplant. People with organ transplants have a high risk of infection because they must take drugs that decrease or suppress the immune system.
  • Wisdom teeth are often extracted either before or after they come in if they are decayed, cause pain or have a cyst or infection.