Some of the conditions that lead to the removal of a tooth include:
- Serious gum disease that leaves the tooth mobile and exposed.
- Extensive decay.
- Failed fillings and root canals.
- Not enough space for the tooth the enter your mouth.
- Accidents when teeth become gravely injured and half-lodged from their sockets.
What is the procedure for an extraction?
Following the diagnosis and decision to extract the tooth your dentist will have a conversation with you to assess your general health, mental health and understand your oral disease history.
The difficulty of the extraction will be assessed, this will vary depending on:
- Anatomy of the tooth, in particular its root structure (eg curved, bulbous or fused roots can be challenging).
- The tooth’s proximity to important anatomical factors (eg nerves and blood vessels).
- The tooth’s location in your mouth and accessibility to the tooth.
- Your general health and compliance.
Once all these factors have been considered your dentist will recommend either a simple or surgical extraction. Below are explanations for simple and surgical extractions.
Simple extractions are relatively easy procedures that can be performed by your dentist in their rooms. This type of extraction is done on teeth that are:
- Full erupted and clearly visible in your mouth.
- Easy to access.
- Have a simple root anatomy (ie roots not too bulbous, long or curved).
- Not located too close to vital anatomy.
Once your dentist has thoroughly numbed the surrounding area, he or she is able to use a tool called an elevator to help loosen the tooth from its socket. After the tooth is sufficiently loosened, forceps can be used to fully remove the tooth in question.
Simple extractions are generally a quick procedure, and often multiple teeth can be removed at once if they need to be. Your dentist will instruct on precautions to take after tooth removal, such as keeping the site clean and certain foods to avoid for the first few days.
A slight ache and mild swelling are normal after a simple extraction. You may need to take painkillers for a couple of days.
Surgical tooth extractions are more complex procedures and involve higher risk. A surgical approach may be required when the tooth:
- Has not come up through the gum into the mouth eg impacted wisdom teeth.
- Is difficult to access.
- Has a difficult root anatomy.
- Is located close to vital anatomy such as nerves and blood vessels.
Before your surgical extraction, an orthopantomogram (OPG) will be required. This is an xray which shows your upper and lower jaws.
During surgical extraction, your surgeon will make a small incision in your gum to access the tooth, then remove the tooth either intact or by breaking it into smaller pieces. Generally, surgical extractions can be performed with a local anesthetic, but sometimes general anesthesia is required to make the process easier for patient and doctor.
Surgical extractions generally involve a more diligent aftercare routine in the days following your procedure, so be sure to check with your surgeon about how best to care for yourself and your mouth. In general, a maxillofacial oral surgeon will be the best qualified person to do these extractions.