If your tooth is giving you a lot of pain and is not in a position to be saved, then chances are that your dentist might suggest you to go for a tooth extraction. Most people are terrrified at the thought of having a tooth extraction; however, it is now not a painful procedure and can be done easily in quick time.

Dental extraction is not a new practice and has its root historically too. Prior to advent of antibiotics, many health problems were seen as a cause of tooth infection and thus extractions were done. Dental pelican was the instrument discovered to ease dental extraction in the 14th century by Guy De Chauliac. This instrument was used until 18th century and was then replaced by a dental key. It was then in 20th century that forceps were discovered which made the entire process of extraction easy and relatively painless.

Reasons for Tooth Extraction

While tooth decay is one of the common reasons of extraction, there are many more which can lead to extraction. Some of the reasons why one can have a tooth extraction are listed below:

  • Tooth infection: If the tooth is infected and has an acute abscess, then a dental extraction might become necessary.
  • Supernumerary Tooth: If there is a tooth which is blocking the growth of other teeth in the mouth, extraction can be suggested.
  • Gum disease: A severe disease of the gums can sometime affect bone structure of the tooth and extraction could be suggested.
  • Fractured tooth: If the tooth has got a major fracture, it might be suggested to undergo extraction.
  • Prosthetics: If a tooth is causing an issue while putting the dentures on, then extraction might be the only option.
  • Cosmetic reason: A tooth extraction can be done many times for cosmetic reasons too, although we only consider this if the reasons are truly impending.

Tooth extraction can be unsettling for the patient, but a good dentist can make it relatively comfortable with good hands and experience

Dr Vidya Janardhanan, Beverly Heights Dental

Pre Extraction Checkup

If you have been suffering from a prolonged tooth ache or some kind of infection, it is recommended to seek consultation. A dentist may suggest tooth extraction after examining your tooth condition properly. The pre-extraction dental check-up will the following:

  • An x-ray of your tooth: An x-ray will help the dentist evaluate the tooth carefully keeping in mind the roots and bone structure. The image of tooth is a good determinant of knowing if an extraction is required.In case, the dentist feels that extraction is must, he/she will give the patient a date for extraction. However, if there is some infection or pain present in the tooth, antibiotics will be given first to subside it.
  • Patients’ medical history: Before extracting tooth, the dentist will also look into the patient’s medical history. It is important for the patient to let the dentist know about the current medications, any history or any present health condition.

How it is done

tooth extractionOnce the tooth infection is settled and the dentist is convinced with patient’s medical history, the preparation for tooth extraction begins. Firstly, the dentist will anesthetize the tooth, bone and the surrounding gum tissue. This is usually done through a dental injection. Now, when the tooth and its surrounding areas are numb, the dentist would require increasing the space in the socket or the bone which holds the tooth. This is done by applying a firm pressure on the tooth in a way that the bones get compressed. The repeated pressure on the tooth from different angles results in expansion of the tooth socket.

To facilitate the extraction the dentist will have to employ some tools like a dental elevator and forceps. A dental elevator is an instrument that is thin enough so as to enable it to be lodged in the narrow space between the teeth and the ligaments. The elevator is then nudged and rocked to rock the teeth such that it gets displaced from its socket.

Once there is some ‘play’ in the socket, then it is suggestive of the fact that there is sufficient displacement from the ligaments and it then becomes easy to pull it out with a dental forcep. After the tooth is extracted, the extraction area is closed. This includes removing infected tissue, compressing the expanded socket, placing stitches and giving post extraction care tips.


The dentist will guide the patient on what care needs to be taken post tooth extraction. It is important to take care of the mouth in order to get relief and get it healed properly. Here are some of the tips one must keep in mind post extraction-

If some bleeding occurs, put a soft pressure on the gauze placed by the dentist. If the bleeding is much, place a tea bag and put pressure. A nominal amount of bleeding is normal on day one. Painkillers can be prescribed to get relief from pain. If there is swelling on the cheek, an ice pack can help; placing an ice pack for no more than 10 minutes can reduce the swelling. Rest is important post extraction and is helps in faster healing. Eat soft foods and be on a liquid diet at least for 24 hours post tooth extraction.

A normal tooth extraction heals in a month’s time. It is advisable to go for routine check-up in order to avoid any type of complication later. Tooth extraction is a common dental surgical procedure and is relatively painless and quick too. Where possible, the dentist will give you an option of a root canal treatment to save the tooth. But, if you are advised to have one, just relax and get it done, you can always get a dental implant later on.

Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Wisdom tooth extraction is more complicated than other extractions because of the location of the teeth and mainly because they can be impacted within the gums in peculiar ways. Quite often some gum surgery is involved and the teeth will sometimes have to be extracted in pieces if the impaction is rather severe and horizontal in nature.


Computer simulation showing wisdom tooth extraction.

The above video entails the wisdom tooth extraction procedure. For more detailed information on this please visit wisdom teeth extraction