Tooth extractions are basically the last resort for dentists. In most cases, they will try other treatments to restore the tooth back to health before recommending an extraction. However, if a decayed or injured tooth threatens the health of the rest of the teeth and mouth overall, it will have to be extracted. Additionally, teeth may require an extraction if they are impacted, are crowding the mouth, or are preventing the eruption of a permanent tooth.
There are two types of extractions: simple and surgical. During a simple extraction (which is performed when the tooth is visible and accessible above the gum line), the dentist will remove the tooth using forceps. A surgical extraction is performed if the problem lies deeper within the gum line. During this procedure, the gum tissue is cut into in order to access the tooth. The affected area will first be numbed with either a local anesthetic or, if multiple teeth are being removed at once, a general anesthetic. Once the incision has been made in the gum line (with gum tissue being removed, if necessary), the tooth will be gripped and loosened by being pulled back and forth. It may need to be broken into smaller pieces to be removed more easily. After the tooth has been removed, sutures will be used to close the area. Normally, soluble sutures are chosen because they conveniently dissolve over time.