A dental extraction is the removal of a tooth when all other treatment options are exhausted and the tooth is causing pain, swelling, or infection or when cavities or periodontal (gum) disease have progressed too far. Extractions of impacted or problematic wisdom teeth are routinely performed, as are extractions of some permanent teeth to make space for orthodontic treatment.
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. 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 bone tissue with a drill or osteotome. Frequently, the tooth may be split into multiple pieces to facilitate its removal.