What Is It?

Tooth extraction is the removal of a tooth from its socket in the bone.

When is it done?

A tooth may have to be extracted if it’s broken or damaged by decay to an extent that it cannot be fixed with a filling, crown or other treatment. A very loose tooth also will require extraction if it can't be saved.

Here are other reasons:

  • Some people have extra teeth that block other teeth from coming in.
  • Sometimes baby teeth don't fall out in time to allow the permanent teeth to come in.
  • People getting braces may need teeth extracted to create room for the teeth that are being moved into place.
  • People receiving radiation to the head and neck may need to have teeth in the field of radiation extracted.
  • Some teeth may need to be extracted if they could become a source of infection after an organ transplant. People with organ transplants have a high risk of infection because they must take drugs that decrease or suppress the immune system.
  • Wisdom teeth, also called third molars, are often extracted either before or after they come in. They commonly come in during the late teens or early 20s. They need to be removed if they are decayed, cause pain or have a cyst or infection. These teeth often get stuck in the jaw (impacted) and do not come in. This can irritate the gum, causing pain and swelling. In this case, the tooth must be removed.


There are two types of extractions:

  • A simple extraction – this procedure is for a tooth that can be seen in the mouth. For a simple extraction, the tooth is first loosened with an instrument called an elevator and then forceps are used to remove the tooth.
  • A surgical extraction – this is a more complex procedure, which is used if a tooth may have broken off at the gum line or has not erupted in the mouth. A small incision is made into the gums to surgically remove the broken tooth or impacted wisdom tooth.

Tips for Pain Management Following TOOTH REMOVAL

Here are a few tips to help minimize your discomfort and speed recovery:

  • You can put ice packs on your face to reduce swelling. Alternate 20 minute on and 20 minutes off.
  • Eat soft and cool foods for a few days.
  • Starting 24 hours after surgery, swish with warm salt water. Use one-half teaspoon of salt in a cup of water.
  • You should not smoke, use a straw or spit after surgery. These actions can pull the blood clot out of the extraction socket.