Dental extraction

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Dental extraction
Surgical extraction of an impacted molar
Jump to: navigation, search
Dental extraction
Surgical extraction of an impacted molar
Extracted tooth
Extracted Wisdom tooth that was horizontally impacted
two extracted teeth from a 14 year old male, compared against a £1 coin, which has a diameter of 22.50 millimetres (0.89 inches)

A dental extraction (also referred to as tooth extraction, exodontia, or historically, tooth pulling) is the removal of teeth from the mouth. Extractions are performed for a wide variety of reasons, but most commonly to remove teeth which have become unrestorable through tooth decay, periodontal disease or dental trauma; especially when they are associated with toothache. Sometimes wisdom teeth are impacted (stuck and unable to grow normally into the mouth) and may cause recurrent infections of the gum (pericoronitis). In orthodontics if the teeth are crowded, sound teeth may be extracted (often bicuspids) to create space so the rest of the teeth can be straightened.

Tooth extraction is usually relatively straightforward, and the vast majority can be usually performed quickly while the individual is awake by using local anesthetic injections to eliminate painful sensations. Local anesthetic blocks pain, but mechanical forces are still vaguely felt. Some teeth are more difficult to remove for several reasons, especially related to the tooth's position, the shape of the tooth roots and the integrity of the tooth. Dental phobia is an issue for some individuals, and tooth extraction tends to be feared more than other dental treatments like fillings. If a tooth is buried in the bone, a surgical or trans alveolar approach may be required, which involves cutting the gum away and removal of the bone which is holding the tooth in with a surgical drill. After the tooth is removed, stitches are used to replace the gum into the normal position.

Immediately after the tooth is removed, a bite pack is used to apply pressure to the tooth socket and stop the bleeding. After a tooth extraction, dentists usually give advice which revolves around not disturbing the blood clot in the socket by not touching the area with a finger or the tongue, by avoiding vigorous rinsing of the mouth, avoiding strenuous activity is left undisturbed and strenous activities are avoided. since If the blood clot is dislodged, bleeding can restart, or alveolar osteitis ("dry socket") can develop, which can be very painful and lead to delayed healing of the socket. Smoking is avoided for at least 24 hours as it impairs wound healing and makes dry socket significantly more likely. Most advise hot salt water mouth baths which start 24 hours after the extraction.

The branch of dentistry that deals primarily with extractions is oral surgery ("exodontistry"), although general dentists, and clinicians from other dental specialties may also carry out tooth extraction routinely since it is a core skill taught in dental schools.


The most common reason for extraction is tooth damage due to breakage or decay. There are additional reasons for tooth extraction:


Extractions are often categorized as "simple" or "surgical".

Simple extractions are performed on teeth that are visible in the mouth, usually under local anaesthetic, and require only the use of instruments to elevate and/or grasp the visible portion of the tooth. Typically the tooth is lifted using an elevator, and using dental forceps, rocked back and forth until the periodontal ligament has been sufficiently broken and the supporting alveolar bone has been adequately widened to make the tooth loose enough to remove. Typically, when teeth are removed with forceps, slow, steady pressure is applied with controlled force.

Surgical extractions involve the removal of teeth that cannot be easily accessed, either because they have broken under the gum line or because they have not erupted fully. Surgical extractions almost always require an incision. In a surgical extraction the doctor may elevate the soft tissues covering the tooth and bone and may also remove some of the overlying and/or surrounding jawbone tissue with a drill or osteotome. Frequently, the tooth may be split into multiple pieces to facilitate its removal. Surgical extractions are usually performed under a general anaesthetic.

Post-extraction healing[edit]

Exodontia of first molar, one hour later.

Immediately following the removal of a tooth, bleeding or just oozing very commonly occurs. Pressure is applied by biting on a gauze swab, and a thrombus (blood clot) forms in the socket (hemostatic response). Sometimes 30 minutes of continuous pressure is required to fully arrest bleeding. Talking, which moves the mandible and hence removes the pressure applied on the socket, instead of keeping constant pressure is a very common reason that bleeding might not stop. This is likened to someone with a bleeding wound on their arm, when being instructed to apply pressure, instead holds the wound intermittently every few moments. Coagulopathies (clotting disorders, e.g. hemophilia) are sometimes discovered for the first time if a person has had no other surgical procedure in their life, but this is rare. Sometimes the blood clot can be dislodged, triggering more bleeding and formation of a new blood clot, or leading to a dry socket (see complications). Some oral surgeons routinely scrape the walls of a socket to encourage bleeding in the belief that this will reduce the chance of dry socket, but there is no evidence that this practice works.

The chance of further bleeding reduces as healing progresses, and is unlikely after 24 hours. The blood clot is covered by epithelial cells which proliferate from the gingival mucosa of socket margins, taking about 10 days to fully cover the defect.[11] In the clot, neutrophils and macrophages are involved as an inflammatory response takes place. The proliferative and synthesizing phase next occurs, characterized by proliferation of osteogenic cells from the adjacent bone marrow in the alveolar bone. Bone formation starts after about 10 days from when the tooth was extracted. After 10–12 weeks, the outline of the socket is no longer apparent on an x-ray image. Bony remodeling as the alveolus adapts to the edentulous state occurs in the longer term as the alveolar process slowly resorbs. In maxillary posterior teeth, the degree of pneumatization of the maxillary sinus may also increase as the antral floor remodels.


Example of post-operative swelling following third molar (wisdom teeth) extractions.
Example of alveolar osteitis (dry socket) following lower third molar (wisdom tooth) extraction; six days post-surgery.

Replacement options for missing teeth[edit]

Following dental extraction, a gap is left. The options to fill this gap are commonly recorded as "BIND", and the exact choice is agreed between dentist and patient based upon several factors.

Treatment optionAdvantagesDisadvantages
BridgeFixed to adjacent teethDrilling usually required on one or both sides of the gap if conventional bridge (average lifespan about 10 years). Conservative bridge (average lifespan about 5 years) preparation may cause minimal damage to adjacent teeth. Expensive and complex treatment, not suited to all situations, e.g. large gaps in the back of the mouth Alveolar bone will still resorb, and eventually a gap may show under bridge.
ImplantFixed to jawbone. Maintains alveolar bone, which would otherwise undergo resorption. Usually a long term lifespan.Expensive and complex, requiring specialist. May involve other procedures such as bone grafting. Relatively contra-indicated in tobacco smokers.
Nothing (i.e. not replacing the missing tooth)Often the choice due to cost of other treatment or lack of motivation for other treatments. Part of a shortened dental arch plan, which revolves around the fact that not all teeth are required to eat comfortably, and only the incisors and premolars need be preserved for normal function.The alveolar bone will slowly resorb over time once the tooth is lost. Potential esthetic concern. Potential for drifting and rotation of adjacent teeth into the gap over time.
DentureOften a simple, quick and relatively cheap treatment compared to bridge and implant. Not usually any drilling of other teeth required. It is far easier to replace several teeth with a denture than place multiple bridges or implants.Denture is not fixed in mouth. Over time worsens periodontal disease unless there is good level of oral hygiene, and may damage soft tissues. Potential for slightly accelerated resorption of alveolar bone compared to no denture. Potential for poor tolerance in persons with over-sensitive gag reflex, xerostomia, etc.


Historically, dental extractions have been used to treat a variety of illnesses. Before the discovery of antibiotics, chronic tooth infections were often linked to a variety of health problems, and therefore removal of a diseased tooth was a common treatment for various medical conditions. Instruments used for dental extractions date back several centuries. In the 14th century, Guy de Chauliac invented the dental pelican,[12] which was used through the late 18th century. The pelican was replaced by the dental key which, in turn, was replaced by modern forceps in the 20th century. As dental extractions can vary tremendously in difficulty, depending on the patient and the tooth, a wide variety of instruments exist to address specific situations. Rarely, tooth extraction was used as a method of torture, e.g. to obtain forced confessions.[13]


  1. ^ Kazemi, Dr. H. Ryan (2014), EXTRACTION OF DAMAGED TEETH, retrieved February 18, 2014 
  2. ^ Zadik Y, Sandler V, Bechor R, Salehrabi R (August 2008). "Analysis of factors related to extraction of endodontically treated teeth". Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod 106 (5): e31–5. doi:10.1016/j.tripleo.2008.06.017. PMID 18718782. 
  3. ^ a b Hollins, Carole (2008). Levison's Textbook for Dental Nurses. ISBN 978-1-4051-7557-9 
  4. ^ Zadik Y, Levin L (April 2006). "[Decision making of Hebrew University and Tel Aviv University Dental Schools graduates in every day dentistry--is there a difference?]". Refuat Hapeh Vehashinayim (in Hebrew) 23 (2): 19–23, 65. PMID 16886872. 
  5. ^ Zadik Y, Levin L (April 2007). "Decision making of Israeli, East European, and South American dental school graduates in third molar surgery: is there a difference?". J. Oral Maxillofac. Surg. 65 (4): 658–62. doi:10.1016/j.joms.2006.09.002. PMID 17368360. 
  6. ^ Morant H (April 200). "UK government wants GMC to be given stronger powers". British Medical Journal 320 (7239): 890A. doi:10.1136/bmj.320.7239.890. PMC 1117823. PMID 10741982. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  7. ^ "Opposition to Prophylactic Removal of Third Molars (Wisdom Teeth)". Policy Statement Database. American Public Health Association. 2008-10-28. Retrieved 2010-02-24. 
  8. ^ Speers, RD; Brands, WG; Nuzzolese, E; Smith, D; Swiss, PB; van Woensel, M; Welie, JV (2008 Dec). "Preventing dentists' involvement in torture: the developmental history of a new international declaration.". Journal of the American Dental Association (1939) 139 (12): 1667–73. PMID 19047673. 
  9. ^ C. Thomas Gualtieri. Brain injury and mental retardation: psychopharmacology and neuropsychiatry. 
  10. ^ Hupp JR, Ellis E, Tucker MR (2008). Contemporary oral and maxillofacial surgery (5th ed.). St. Louis, Mo.: Mosby Elsevier. ISBN 9780323049030. 
  11. ^ Antonio Nanci (editor) (2007). Oral histology : development, structure, and function. (7th ed. ed.). St. Louis, Mo.: Mosby. ISBN 9780323045575. 
  12. ^ "Dental pelican for tooth pulling, Europe, 1701-1800". Brought to Life. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  13. ^ Downs, edited by Richard Pierre Claude and Burns H. Weston, with the assistance of Gavin H. Boyles and Jessica L. (2006). Human rights in the world community : issues and action (3rd ed. ed.). Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 91. ISBN 9780812219487.