Although permanent teeth were meant to last a lifetime, there are a number of reasons why tooth extraction may be needed. A very common reason involves a tooth that is too badly damaged, from trauma or decay, to be repaired. Other reasons include:
A Crowded Mouth
Sometimes the dentist recommends extracting teeth to prepare the mouth for orthodontics. The goal of orthodontics 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 not enough room in the mouth for it, your dentist may recommend extracting it.
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, but if the infection is so severe that antibiotics or root canal therapy can’t cure it, extraction may be needed to prevent the spread of infection.
Risk of Infection
If your immune system is compromised -- for example, if you are receiving chemotherapy or having an organ transplant -- the risk of infection in a particular tooth may be reason enough to extract the tooth.
Periodontal (Gum) Disease
If periodontal disease, an infection of the tissues and bones that surround and support teeth, have caused loosening of the teeth, it may be necessary to extract the tooth or teeth.
What to Expect with Tooth Extraction?
Dentist and oral surgeons perform tooth extractions. Before extracting the tooth, your dentist will give you an injection of a local anesthetic to numb the area where the tooth will be removed.
Once the tooth has been extracted, a blood clot usually forms in the socket. The dentist will pack down a gauze pad on it to help stop the bleeding. Sometimes the dentist will place a few stitches, usually self-dissolving, to close the gum edges over the extraction site.
Sometimes, the blood clot in the socket breaks loose, exposing the bone in the socket. This is a painful condition called dry socket. If this happens, your dentist will likely place a sedative dressing over the socket for a few days to protect it as a new clot forms.