Tooth extraction is the removal of a tooth from its socket in the bone. Although permanent teeth were meant to last a lifetime, there are a number of reasons why tooth extraction may be needed.
- A very common reason involves a tooth that is too badly damaged, from trauma or decay, and can’t be repaired.
- A crowded mouth. Sometimes dentists pull teeth to prepare the mouth for orthodontia to create room for the teeth that are being moved into place. 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.
- Periodontal (Gum) Disease, an infection of the tissues and bones that surround and support the teeth — have caused loosening of the teeth, it may be necessary to the pull the tooth or teeth.
- Risk of infection. If your immune system is compromised (for example, if you are receiving chemotherapy or are having an organ transplant), even the risk of infection in a particular tooth may be reason enough to pull the tooth.
- Wisdom teeth, also called third molars, are often extracted either before or after they come in. They commonly come in during the late teens or early 20s. They need to be removed if they are decayed, cause pain or have a cyst or infection. These teeth often get stuck in the jaw (impacted) and do not come in. This can irritate the gum, causing pain and swelling. In this case, the tooth must be removed.
Your dentist or oral surgeon will take an X-ray of the area if required to help plan the best way to remove the tooth. Before pulling the tooth, your dentist will give you an injection of a local anaesthetic to numb the area where the tooth will be removed. If the tooth is impacted, the dentist will loosen the gum and bone tissue that cover the tooth and then, grasp the tooth and gently rock it back and forth to loosen it from the jaw bone and ligaments that hold it in place. Sometimes, a hard-to-pull tooth must be removed in pieces.