A tooth may be extracted for many reasons. Some teeth are extracted because they are severely decayed, others may have advanced periodontal disease, or may have been broken in a manner in which they cannot be repaired. Other teeth may need removal because they are poorly positioned in the mouth such as wisdom teeth or in preparation for orthodontic treatment.
If the tooth is not fully erupted (impacted), it may be necessary to first remove some of the overlying gum and bone tissue in order to access the tooth. Some teeth must be cut and removed in sections. The extraction site may or may not require one or more stitches to close the incision.
When multiple teeth require extraction, the remaining bone or soft tissue often needs to be shaped to allow for a comfortable fitting prosthesis and to prevent sharp bony ledges from developing; this procedure is called an alveoloplasty.
Tooth extraction can be performed with local anesthesia, nitrous oxide (laughing gas) or I.V. sedation.