When it comes to dental procedures, tooth extraction — or having teeth "pulled" — is among patients' most dreaded prospects. Also referred to as exodontia, tooth extraction involves removing a tooth from its socket in the jaw bone. Before your dentist considers extraction, every effort will be made to try to repair and restore your tooth. However, sometimes a tooth extraction is necessary.
There are different reasons for extracting a tooth.
Severe Tooth Damage/Trauma
Some teeth have such extensive decay and damage (broken or cracked) that repair is not possible. For example, teeth affected by advanced gum (periodontal) disease may need to be pulled. As gum disease worsens, the tooth — supported by less surrounding bone — often loosens to such an extent that tooth extraction is the only solution.
Malpositioned/ Non-functioning Teeth
To avoid possible complications that may result in an eventual, negative impact on oral health, your dentist may recommend removing teeth that are malaligned and/or essentially useless (teeth that have no opposing teeth to bite against).
Orthodontic treatment, such as braces, may require tooth extraction to make needed space for improved teeth alignment.
Also referred to as supernumerary teeth, extra teeth may block other teeth from erupting.
Head and neck radiation therapy may require the extraction of teeth in the field of radiation in order to help avoid possible complications, such as infection.
Chemotherapy weakens the immune system, increasing the risk of tooth infections, heightening the risk of extraction.
Immunosuppressive medications prescribed after organ transplantation can increase the likelihood of tooth infection. As such, some teeth require removal prior to an organ transplant.