Extraction (Non-wisdom teeth)
If a tooth has been broken or damaged by decay, we may try to fix it with a filling, crown or other treatment. Sometimes, though, there's too much damage for the tooth to be repaired. Then an extraction is necessary. A very loose tooth will require extraction if it can't be saved.
There are two types of extractions:
- In a simple extraction, the dentist loosens the tooth with an instrument called an elevator. Then the dentist uses an instrument called a forceps to remove the tooth.
- A surgical extraction is a more complex procedure. It is used if a tooth may have broken off at the gum line or has not come into the mouth yet. Surgical extractions commonly are done by oral surgeons. However, they are also done by general dentists. The doctor makes a small incision (cut) into your gum. Sometimes it's necessary to remove some of the bone around the tooth or to cut the tooth in half in order to extract it. Sutures may be necessary to help close the extraction site.
Most simple extractions can be done using just an injection (a local anesthetic). You may or may not receive drugs to help you relax. For a surgical extraction, you will receive a local anesthetic, and you may also have anesthesia through a vein (intravenous). Some people may need general anesthesia. They include patients with specific medical or behavioral conditions and young children.
After the removal of your tooth, your dentist will discuss a variety of replacement options with you, with dental implants being the two most popular choices.
- Dental implants are a titanium post that is surgically positioned beneath your gum line, which allows for your dentist to set replacement teeth. The reason dental implants are made from titanium is because they are the only metal that is capable of grafting with human bone.
- A dental bridge fills the space where a tooth or teeth are missing. The dental bridge will improve the aesthetics of your smile, but more importantly, it will hold the surrounding teeth in place, which in turn makes the daily tasks of eating or talking much easier to manage.
- A partial denture/denture fills the missing tooth/teeth space with artificial teeth. This is a removable device.