Dental Care for Kids: Finding the Right Dentist

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Tooth Removal 101

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Getting a tooth pulled is never fun, but sometimes tooth removal by your dentist is necessary. Here is what you should know if you find yourself in this situation.

Why Would A Tooth Ever Need To Be Removed?

Wisdom Teeth

Millions of teeth around the world are electively removed every year. Perhaps the biggest reason is the wisdom teeth. These teeth are the four molars at the very back of the mouth that come through in about two-thirds of the population in young adulthood. They are essentially an unnecessary holdover from the past that have yet to fully evolve their way out.

Wisdom teeth are often impacted and unable to erupt as there is no room for them. This doesn't stop them from trying, however. Unfortunately, if their efforts aren't thwarted, they can cause damage to the other teeth.

Diseased Teeth

Teeth that are decayed and too far gone to simply fill a cavity are often removed, especially if they are in the back. Removal is better than risking an infection, which can spread to other nearby healthy tissue and teeth, cause a potentially life-threatening abscess, or allow bacteria to enter the bloodstream and adversely affect the heart. Teeth are also removed when many have been previously removed and the patient is now to the point where they require dentures.


Sometimes people simply have too many teeth. Or, they may have too large of teeth that won't fit in the jaw. This is not uncommon in genetic disorders such as children with Down's syndrome. Removing teeth is sometimes necessary as the permanent teeth begin coming in.


Some cancer patients, especially if they have oral cancer or cancer of the head and neck, may have to have all or some of their teeth extracted prior to radiation treatment.

How Are Teeth Removed?

A simple extraction is done when the tooth is visible. The dentist uses a tool to rock it back and forth and then pull it out. A surgical extraction is required when the tooth is not visible above the gum line or in a situation where it has broken off. Occasionally, the roots may be entangled around bone, which means that a tooth needs to be surgically removed. Surgical removal is done under anesthesia.

What Are The Complications Of Tooth Removal?

When a tooth is removed, a protective blood clot forms in the space. If this is dislodged by smoking or drinking with a straw, dry socket will develop. This is extremely painful and must be treated by the dentist.