If you need a tooth removed, the exact tooth extraction procedure that might be needed will depend on several factors. These factors include the condition of your tooth and where it lies in your mouth. If you need an extraction, your dentist will provide you with information on what to expect. This page will provide you with general advice on the procedures involved.
The majority of tooth extractions are ‘routine’. The thought of getting an extraction may not seem like ‘routine’ to many! The term used here simply means that the extraction is fairly straightforward and no problems are anticipated/encountered. Teeth that are harder to remove will require ‘surgical’ extraction procedures.
‘Routine’ Tooth Extraction Procedure
Routine extractions are carried out by most general dentists. Before extracting a tooth:
- The dentist will usually need to take an X-ray of the tooth and/or of the entire jaw.
- In some cases you may need an antibiotic before having a tooth extracted. This is only if there is a severe or spreading infection in the area.
- You may require sedation. In some cases a general anesthetic is needed, although this is usually only needed with surgical extractions.
The Procedure Involves:
- The dentist will ensure the tooth and surrounding area is completely numbed.
- Only once s/he has confirmed this, s/he will begin the extraction.
- Removal is often begun with loosening of the tooth with an instrument (an elevator). This also helps widen the socket, making the next stage easier.
- Forceps are then used to firmly and slowly deliver the tooth from its socket.
- The wound is then packed to help clot formation
During the tooth extraction procedure you will usually feel pressure, but no pain. If you feel any sharp or pinching pain, let the dentist know.
Once the removal is complete, the dentist will check the socket to ensure it is clean and place a pack on the socket to stop any bleeding. The dentist will ensure bleeding has stopped and give you instructions on aftercare before you can leave the surgery. See aftercare advice for an extraction.
Surgical Tooth Extraction Procedure
When might a dentist recommend a surgical extraction?
A surgical extraction is necessary with teeth that are more difficult to remove. Reasons include:
- Very little or no tooth substance remaining above the gum.
- Very large or curved roots under the gum.
- Tooth impacted or not yet erupted (for example wisdom teeth).
The surgical tooth extraction procedure is more complex than a routine extraction and may involve:
- Cutting the gum to enable access to the tooth.
- Removing some of the bone that holds it in place.
- Cutting the tooth into pieces and removing the pieces separately.
Some general dentists are proficient at performing surgical extraction procedures, whereas others may prefer to refer you to a specialist oral surgeon.
You may like to jump to our article on aftercare advice for extractions. There is also advice here on dry socket and other complications can occur after an extraction.