Tuesday, June 8, 2010


A dental extraction 
(also referred to as exodontia) is the removal of a tooth from the mouth. Extractions are performed for a wide variety of reasons, including tooth decay that has destroyed enough tooth structure to prevent restoration. Extractions of impacted or problematic wisdom teeth are routinely performed, as are extractions of some permanent teeth to make space for orthodontic treatment.

The most common reason for extraction is tooth damage due to breakage or decay. There are additional reasons for tooth extraction:
  • Severe tooth decay or infection. Despite the reduction in worldwide prevalence of dental caries, still it is the most common reason for extraction of (non-third molar) teeth with up to two thirds of extractions.
  • Extra teeth which are blocking other teeth from coming in.
  • Severe gum disease which may affect the supporting tissues and bone structures of teeth.
  • In preparation for orthodontic treatment (braces)
  • Teeth in the fracture line
  • Fractured teeth.
  • Insufficient space for wisdom teeth (impacted third molars). Although many dentists remove asymptomatic impacted third molars, American as well as British Health Authorities recommended against this routine procedure, unless there are evidences for disease in the impacted tooth or the near environment. The American Public Health Association, for example, adopted a policy, Opposition to Prophylactic Removal of Third Molars (Wisdom Teeth) because of the large number of injuries resulting from unnecessary extractions.
  • Receiving radiation to the head and neck may require extraction of teeth in the field of radiation.
Post Extraction Healing:
Following extraction of a tooth, a blood clot forms in the socket usually within 1 hour. Bleeding is common in this first hour, but its likelihood decreases quickly as time passes, and is unusual after 24 hours. The raw open wound overlying the dental socket takes about 1 week to heal. Thereafter, the socket will gradually fill in with soft gum tissue over a period of about 1 - 2 months. Final closure of the socket with bony remodeling can take 6 months or more.
For the first two days after the procedure the patient should drink liquids without using a straw and eat soft foods. Any chewing must be done on the side away from the extraction site. The mouth may be gently cleaned with a toothbrush but the extraction area should not be scrubbed.
Potential complications of tooth extraction include:
Postoperative infection Temporary numbness from nerve irritation Jaw fracture and jaw joint pain. Dry socket. A condition where a blood clot does not properly form in the empty tooth socket allowing the bone beneath the socket to be painfully exposed to air and food causing the extraction site to heal more slowly.
Having a missing tooth can lead to several problems such as shifting teeth difficulty chewing and malocclusion (poor teeth positioning). Often a dentist will attempt to restore the area with an implant fixed bridge or a denture.