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Tooth Extractions

A dental extraction is the removal of a tooth from the mouth.   There are many reasons to remove teeth:

  • severe tooth decay, infected teeth, or necrotic (dead) teeth

  • severe gum disease or periodontal disease

  • in preparation for orthodontic treatment (braces)

  • teeth which cannot be restored endodontically (root canal treatment)

  • fractured teeth

  • impacted teeth

  • teeth involved with jaw fractures

  • teeth involved with pathologic lesions (i.e. cyst, tumor, etc.)

  • supernumerary, supplemental, or malformed teeth

  • teeth detrimental to the fit or appearance of dentures

  • receiving radiation to the head or neck may require extraction of teeth in the field of radiation

  • reduced cost compared to other treatments


Types of Extractions

Simple extractions are performed on teeth that are visible in the mouth. Usually the tooth is intact and has enough tooth structure above the gum to remove by loosening.  Typically the tooth is loosened and lifted using an instrument called an elevator.   Then dental forceps can be placed on the tooth to rock the tooth back and forth.  This pressure put on the tooth separates or breaks the ligament that holds the tooth in the supporting bone.  The bone that holds in the tooth is also made wider in order to make the tooth loose enough to remove. Contrary to popular belief, teeth are not “pulled”.  Rather, teeth are removed by carefully and systematically applying controlled force and pressure in different directions until the tooth is removed. 


Surgical extractions involve the removal of a tooth that is compromised or not fully visible.  Teeth that have to be surgically extracted are usually broken, severely decayed, or have not fully erupted. Surgical extractions sometimes require an incision.  The Dr. may move the gum tissues covering the tooth and may also remove some of the overlying and/or surrounding jawbone tissue with a drill.  Sometimes a tooth is intentionally split into multiple pieces to facilitate easier removal and decrease the amount of pressure put on the jaw.


Root tip extractions are a subset of surgical extractions.  Root tip extractions usually involve removal of teeth that have broken to or below the gum line.  Sometimes if a tooth breaks on its own, there may be pieces of the root left behind that need to be removed.  Incisions and removal of surrounding jaw bone are more frequently necessary with root tip extractions as compared to surgical extractions.


*Some extractions are performed at Zent Family Dentistry and others are referred to an oral surgeon.  This depends on the individual tooth that needs to be removed.

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