When Tooth Extractions are Necessary

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Your dentist’s main goal is to preserve your smile by maintaining your oral health. Because of this, they have a variety of restorative treatments to treat common dental issues like damaged teeth, tooth decay, and gum disease. However, there are some cases where restorative treatments may not be enough to restore your oral health. In these cases your dentist will often recommend a tooth extraction. 

simple tooth extraction technique

While many people fear tooth extractions, they are actually nothing to be too concerned about. In fact, they are relatively routine and can be safely and comfortably performed in your dentist’s office using anesthetics and sedation. There are two different techniques used for tooth extractions: simple and surgical. A simple extraction uses forceps and an elevator tool to remove an entire tooth in one piece, while a surgical extraction breaks up the tooth into pieces before removing one piece at a time until the entire tooth has been removed. 

Tooth extractions are performed as a last resort treatment. This means that if there is another way to restore your tooth, your dentist will likely recommend that treatment instead. However certain cases can only be treated by extracting the affected tooth. Some common examples of such cases include: 

Teeth Affected by Severe Decay

There are several restorative treatments for decayed teeth such as fillings, inlays, onlays, root canals, and dental crowns. However severe cases of tooth decay affect not only the dental pulp, but the roots as well. In these cases, there is a risk of the infection spreading to the neighboring teeth, therefore an extraction is usually recommended. Since a root abscess causes a great deal of pain, most people are relieved to have their tooth removed. 

Severe Gum Disease

Just as severe tooth decay can make a tooth extraction necessary, so can severe gum disease. However, severe gum disease affects your teeth slightly differently. Instead of infecting the inside of your teeth, gum disease affects both the gum and bone tissue. In the advanced stages of gum disease, this often means that your teeth may become loose as a result of bone loss and the weakening of the periodontal ligament. To prevent your teeth from falling out and causing more damage, your dentist will often recommend extraction. 


There are some cases where your mouth may simply be too small for the amount of teeth inside it. Unfortunately, this can cause your teeth to overlap or erupt at odd angles. In some cases, it can even prevent certain teeth from erupting all the way or can even cause some teeth to become damaged. In order to make sure your teeth have enough space to function properly, your dentist may recommend removing one or more teeth to allow the remaining teeth to spread out. In some cases, orthodontic treatment may also be recommended to properly align the remaining teeth. 

Dental Trauma

Unfortunately, accidents happen that can affect your teeth. While there are a variety of restorative treatments for fixing damaged teeth, some cases may be best treated by extracting the affected tooth and replacing it with a dental prosthetic. In most cases, extraction will only be recommended if other restoration methods cannot safely fix the affected tooth. 

Impacted Teeth

impacted wisdom tooth under the gum

Despite their name, wisdom teeth are anything but wise. While some wisdom teeth erupt properly without causing any problems, most wisdom teeth are unable to erupt completely. When a tooth is unable to erupt, this is known as an impaction. Impactions can be partial, meaning that the tooth is partially visible above the gum line, or complete, meaning that the tooth is entirely stuck below the gum line. Some impacted teeth can cause swelling, redness, and pain, while others are only detected through dental x-rays. To prevent secondary complications associated with impacted teeth, your dentist will generally recommend having them extracted. 

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