Many people have certain anxieties around dental work, especially when it comes to intense procedures such as tooth pulling. Though a dental extraction may not necessarily be an enjoyable experience, it usually helps to know exactly what is being done and what to expect.
Tooth extraction can be deemed necessary for a patient due to a variety of different factors, usually relating to advanced decay or breakage in teeth caused by an external force. Most people imagine dental extraction as the simple removal of teeth, but tooth pulling is not the only form of dental extraction; in fact, there are three common methods that are used for different needs.
Simple extraction. This is the most well-known and commonly performed type of dental extraction. Simple extraction is what most people think of when they imagine getting a tooth pulled, as it deals with the extraction of the visible tooth as well as its root. Simple extractions are typically the product of an extremely decayed tooth with a compromised root. Dentists will typically inject a local anesthetic to numb the gum area surrounding the tooth, reducing pain for the patient. Contrary to popular belief, the tooth is not actually pulled directly from its socket, but is instead pushed deeper into the gum until the root dislodges itself from the jaw. This is the easiest type of extraction and it can typically be completed relatively quick.
Partial extraction. This refers to the removal of a tooth while leaving the root whole and undamaged within the jawbone. This method is relatively new in dental circles but is highly regarded for its positive lasting effects on tooth and jaw health. Removing teeth and their roots causes the jaw to become weakened, so a partial extraction can remove a broken or decayed tooth without harming the jaw (as long as any damage hasn’t spread to the root). Partial extractions are a great option for those planning to replace removed teeth with dental implants, as they make the implantation process go much smoother.
Surgical extraction. This form is often used as the last resort in situations where an extraction is needed but a simple or partial extraction isn’t possible. A surgical extraction refers to the surgical removal of a tooth or tooth fragment, along with the root if needed, that has sustained decay or damage below the gum line. This is the most invasive form of dental extraction, so depending on how many teeth need to be extracted, the severity of the damage or decay, and the patient’s anxiety levels, dentists will sometimes provide complete anesthesia as opposed to local anesthesia.
Simple and partial extractions are the least involved types of dental extractions and usually require the least amount of anesthetic. However, surgical extraction might be needed if the damage is out of sight or has spread to the surrounding teeth and gums. Though dental extractions may seem scary, they are usually virtually painless with anesthetic. In order to avoid needing a dental extraction, make sure to prioritize dental health and avoid external damage to your teeth and gums.