Removal of a Tooth

Removal of a Tooth (Dental Extractions)

Painless dental extractions are not a myth!

A dental extraction, or exodontia, is the removal of a tooth from alveolar bone. Despite all efforts to save them, there are many reasons why teeth must be removed (advanced periodontal disease, tooth decay, preparation for braces, trauma, etc). Your dentist will explain if there are any alternatives to tooth extraction.

Dental extractions are separated into two categories: simple and surgical. Simple dental extractions are performed on teeth that are clearly visible in the mouth. Typically, simple extractions can be performed quicker and more predictably than surgical extractions. See below for more information about the dental extraction procedures.

Surgical dental extractions are performed on teeth that cannot be easily accessed. Broken teeth and impacted wisdom teeth most often fall into this category. See below for more information about surgical extraction procedures.

The dental extraction procedure, performed by either a general dentist or an oral surgeon, typically consists of the following steps:

  • Discussion of alternatives, risks and consequences
  • Pain-free local anesthesia (See Numbing for details)
  • Wait period to allow complete numbing before the procedure begins!
  • Surgical only- Removal of any tissue and/or bone blocking access to the tooth. Most often this requires use of a scalpel and/or dental drill (the same as is used to remove cavities).
  • Tools (elevators, osteotomes) are used to loosen the tooth/tooth pieces. Patients may feel the pressure of the tooth moving as the periodontal ligament holding the tooth root to the bone is weakened.
  • Once the tooth is loose, forceps are used to apply a slow, steady pressure.
  • Forcep removal of the tooth/tooth pieces
  • Sutures may be placed to assist in the healing process
  • Antibiotics and pain medication may be prescribed.

If you have recently had a tooth removed, be sure to speak to your dentist about the specifics of how to replace your tooth in the future!