Sometimes teeth need to be extracted and removed from the mouth. There are several reasons for this:
- Severe tooth decay (cavity)
- Tooth infection or severe inflammation
- Severe gum disease, which has caused the tooth to be loose
- Fractured teeth which cannot be restored or fixed
- Teeth that are impacted or stuck, and will not erupt normally (typically wisdom teeth)
- For orthodontic reasons
Extractions are performed under local anesthetic, which means the tooth and surrounding gums are numb. Patients may feel steady pressure when extracting a tooth, but should not feel any sharp or extremely painful sensations. If a tooth is more difficult to extract, some of the supporting bone may be removed or the tooth will be split to help it come out easier.
Third molars, also called wisdom teeth, are the last teeth to surface, usually between ages 17-25. Most people have four wisdom teeth, some don’t have any, and in rare cases people have more than four. Your dentist observes your wisdom teeth with x-rays as part of regular examinations. Wisdom teeth are often impacted – not properly emerged through the gums, instead growing crooked or even completely sideways. Left untreated the impacted teeth can cause a host of problems including crowding or misalignment of the other teeth and jaw, headaches and infections. Even if not impacted, wisdom teeth can be difficult to clean and may require removal to reduce the risk of decay and infection. The best time to remove wisdom teeth is when the patient is in their late teens-early 20’s, according to the Canadian Association of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons.