If a tooth has been broken or damaged by decay your dentist will naturally do all they can to repair it with a filling, crown or other dental treatment. However, sometimes there is just too much damage to save the tooth, and the only answer is to have it extracted.
It’s not just advanced decay that necessitates tooth extraction. For example, some people having braces fitted may need to have teeth extracted to create room for the teeth being moved into place. People with advanced gum disease (periodontitis) may have a tooth that has become very loose in its socket that cannot be saved. Wisdom teeth, or third molars, often cause problems to people in their late teens or early 20s and are commonly extracted either before or after they come in, especially if they have become stuck in the jaw (impacted).
There are two types of extractions:
- Simple extraction - the tooth is gently loosened in its socket under local anaesthetic and removed with forceps.
- Surgical extraction - this is only used for more complex cases. A small incision is made into the gum to surgically remove a badly broken tooth or impacted wisdom tooth.
Simple extractions are usually pain-free, but you are likely to feel some pressure as the tooth is being removed, and there may be some bleeding for a short time. Your dentist will explain exactly what you need to do after an extraction to keep your mouth clean and healthy and prevent any further problems.