Sometimes it is necessary to remove a tooth to help maintain the health of your mouth.

There are many different reasons for extracting a tooth. During your visit, we will help you understand the benefits of extracting a tooth and provide you with options to make the process as comfortable as possible.

Although permanent teeth were meant to last a lifetime, there are several reasons why tooth extraction may be needed. For example, if a tooth is too badly damaged, from trauma or decay, to be repaired.

Other reasons include:

  • A crowded mouth: Sometimes we need to pull teeth to prepare the mouth for braces. The goal of braces is to properly align the teeth, which may not be possible if your teeth are too big for your mouth. Likewise, if a tooth cannot break through the gum (erupt) because there is no room in the mouth for it, we may recommend pulling it.
  • Infection: If tooth decay or damage extends to the pulp — the center of the tooth containing nerves and blood vessels — bacteria in the mouth can enter the pulp, leading to infection. Often this can be corrected with root canal therapy (RCT). However, if the infection is so severe that antibiotics or RCT cannot cure it, extraction may be needed to prevent the spread of infection.

Dentists and oral surgeons (dentists with special training to perform surgery) perform tooth extractions. Before pulling the tooth, we will give you an injection of a local anesthetic to numb the area where the tooth will be removed. You may have the option to be sedated for the procedure, which makes it a much more comfortable process.

If the tooth is impacted, we will cut away gum and bone tissue covering the tooth. Then, using forceps, grasp the tooth and gently rock it back and forth to loosen it from the jawbone and ligaments that hold it in place. Sometimes, a hard-to-pull tooth must be removed in pieces.