What is a tooth extraction?
A tooth extraction is an outpatient procedure to remove a tooth. A tooth extraction is also called pulling a tooth. A tooth extraction is done to treat overcrowded teeth or remove a tooth that is too severely decayed or damaged to save with a filling, root canal, or another procedure.
Extracting a tooth is generally considered safe, but there are risks and potential complications. It is only one method used to treat damaged or overcrowded teeth. Discuss all of your treatment options with your provider to understand which options are right for you.
Types of tooth extractions
There are two general types of tooth extractions. They include:
- Simple extractions remove teeth that you can see above your gums. General dentists generally perform simple extractions using local anesthesia and sometimes sedation. Simple extractions do not require the dentist to cut the gums and stitch them back up.
- Surgical extractions remove teeth below the gum line, such as teeth that have broken off or teeth that have not completely emerged. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons and general dentists perform surgical extractions using local anesthesia and sedation or general anesthesia.
Surgical tooth extractions involve cutting the gums, breaking up the tooth, and possibly removing bone near the tooth root.
Other procedures that may be performed
Your provider may perform other procedures after a tooth extraction to place an artificial tooth. Leaving a space can lead to the loss of jawbone tissue and the shifting of other teeth. This can result in changes in facial structure and problems with biting, chewing and speaking.
Treatments and restorations that provide artificial teeth include:
- Dental bridges replace an extracted tooth by permanently attaching a false tooth to nearby natural teeth. A dental bridge is permanent or fixed. You cannot take it out of your mouth without help from your dentist.
- Dental implants consist of a metal post inserted into your jawbone. The implant attaches to an abutment connector, and a permanent false tooth (crown) is fixed on the abutment. Dental implants are permanent or fixed. Sometimes removable dentures are attached to dental implants.
- Dentures are removable devices made to replace missing teeth. Dentures may be partial or full and are sometimes attached to a dental implant.
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