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What is a dental extraction?

A dental extraction is a procedure in which a tooth is removed from the jaw. Extractions are typically performed when a tooth is severely decayed, damaged, or infected and cannot be saved by other means such as a filling, root canal therapy, or crown. Extractions may also be necessary in cases of overcrowding, to prepare for orthodontic treatment, or in preparation for dentures.

There are two types of extractions: simple and surgical. A simple extraction is the removal of a tooth that is visible in the mouth, typically performed by a general dentist. Surgical extraction is the removal of a tooth that cannot be easily seen or accessed and is typically performed by an oral surgeon.

The extraction procedure is usually done under local anesthesia or IV sedation, which will numb the area and make the procedure more comfortable. During a simple extraction, the dentist will grasp the tooth with dental forceps and gently rock it back and forth to loosen it from the socket. Surgical extraction may involve making an incision in the gums, and may require the use of special instruments to remove the tooth.

After the extraction, the dentist will provide instructions on how to care for the extraction site in order to promote healing, this usually involves avoiding hard or crunchy foods, avoiding smoking and drinking through a straw, and taking any medications prescribed by the dentist. Pain, swelling, and bleeding are normal after an extraction.