Everyone is born with two sets of teeth: their primary (also known as baby) teeth and their permanent (or adult) teeth. At around age 6 or 7 – though this varies from person to person – our baby teeth begin to fall out and are slowly replaced by permanent teeth. By age 21, most people will have 32 permanent teeth, including wisdom teeth. 

Because you only get one set of permanent teeth, taking good care of them is vital. Teeth are essential for eating, chewing, swallowing, and overall nutrition. Apart from this, they also help you speak clearly and are important to your smile and self-confidence. That is why dentists always work hard to save natural teeth rather than pulling them out whenever possible. 

There are some cases, however, in which other restorative methods, such as dental crowns, dental fillings, or root canal treatments, aren’t enough to save the natural tooth. If your tooth is badly damaged, or in cases of severe teeth crowding, a dental extraction may be necessary.  

Understandably, the thought of getting a tooth extracted can be scary for many people. They may worry about the pain or wonder what happens before, during, and after the procedure. So, to help ease your anxiety, we’ve compiled this comprehensive guide to answer some of your most-asked tooth extraction questions, including what is a dental extraction, when and why teeth might need extraction, and what to expect from the extraction procedure. 


Dental extraction, meaning the complete removal of one or more teeth from their dental sockets, is commonly referred to as tooth extraction or colloquially as “pulling a tooth.” For example, in the case of wisdom teeth or third molars, they might need to be extracted to make space for other teeth to emerge or to avoid potential dental problems, such as:

  • Pain and tooth damage caused by the third molars exerting too much pressure on surrounding teeth at the back of the mouth.
  • Cyst formation around the impacted teeth causing jaw problems and damage to bone tissue and adjacent nerves.
  • Poor alignment or problems with your bite (malocclusion), which can occur when wisdom teeth erupt at less-than-ideal angles

In addition to avoiding potential issues, there are other cases where a dentist might remove a severely damaged tooth to stop further complications. For instance, if someone has a broken tooth, particularly if it’s broken beneath the gum line or cracked beyond repair, it might warrant removal. 

Other common reasons for tooth extractions include:

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay, or dental caries or cavities, is a common issue that can lead to tooth extractions. It occurs when bacteria in the mouth produce acids that attack the surface of a tooth. If the decay is not treated in time and it penetrates deep into the tooth, it can weaken its structure and cause the infection to spread to surrounding teeth and tissues. Untreated tooth decay can cause severe pain, abscess formation, and even serious health issues like heart disease or bacterial infections.

To prevent the spread of infection and alleviate discomfort, dentists may recommend extraction of severely decayed teeth. That helps stop the progression of decay and preserve the mouth’s overall health. 

Gum Disease

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is a bacterial infection that affects the tissues and bones that support the teeth. It’s caused by the buildup of plaque and tartar on the teeth, which can irritate and inflame the gums. Periodontal disease can cause gums to recede (pull away from the teeth), teeth to become loose, and even lead to tooth loss if left untreated. By extracting severely affected teeth, your dentist aims to prevent the further spread of infection and promote the healing of gum tissues.

Crowded Teeth

Crowded teeth happen when there’s not enough space in the jaw for all teeth to align correctly. It can lead to several dental issues, including misalignment, difficulty in cleaning, and increased risk of decay and gum disease. In severe cases, one or more teeth may need to be extracted to create space and facilitate orthodontic treatment. Orthodontists strategically plan extractions to optimize the effectiveness of braces or aligners, reduce treatment time, and improve oral health outcomes. 

Impacted Teeth

When a tooth fails to emerge fully through the gum line or is obstructed by surrounding bone or tissue, it’s an impacted tooth. That commonly occurs with wisdom teeth, which typically emerge later in life but can also happen to any tooth.

Impacted teeth can cause pain and discomfort, particularly when they attempt to emerge but are blocked by adjacent teeth or bone. This discomfort can worsen over time and lead to severe inflammation of the surrounding gum tissue. Furthermore, the partial eruption of impacted teeth can create an environment favorable to bacterial growth, increasing the risk of infections such as pericoronitis, characterized by inflammation around the partially emerged tooth.

Impacted teeth can also exert pressure on neighboring teeth, potentially leading to misalignment, crowding, or damage to adjacent tooth roots. This pressure can result in the resorption of bone surrounding the neighboring teeth. Furthermore, the presence of impacted teeth can sometimes trigger the development of cysts or tumors in the surrounding bone tissue. 

Dentists usually recommend extracting the impacted tooth or teeth to avoid these complications. An oral surgeon or experienced dentist typically performs this procedure using local anesthesia or mild sedation. 


If your dentist has told you that you need one or more teeth extracted, they’ll likely perform either a simple or a surgical extraction. The type of extraction technique used will depend on the location of the tooth and the severity of the condition. Here’s what you can expect from each method:

Simple Extraction

A simple extraction is typically performed on teeth visible in the mouth. This process is relatively easy and often removes decayed, damaged, or loose teeth caused by gum disease or other conditions. During a simple extraction, the dentist will use specialized instruments such as elevators and forceps to loosen the tooth within its socket and gently remove it.

Before a simple extraction, your dentist will thoroughly examine the tooth and surrounding tissues before performing a dental extraction. They will explain what is a tooth extraction and what you can expect during the procedure. They may also take X-rays to assess the tooth’s position and ensure the process is safe. Additionally, anesthesia or mild sedation is typically administered to numb the area around the tooth, ensuring you won’t feel any pain during the procedure.

Following your dentist’s post-operative instructions carefully after a simple tooth extraction is essential. That may include biting down on a gauze pad to control bleeding, applying ice packs to reduce swelling, and taking prescribed pain or antibiotic medications as needed. It’s also essential to avoid strenuous activities and to stick to soft foods only during the initial recovery period.

In some cases, your dentist may also share options for replacing the extracted tooth, such as dental implants, bridges, or partial dentures. These procedures can help restore function and aesthetics to your smile.

Surgical Extraction

A surgical extraction is a more complex procedure often reserved for teeth that are impacted, severely damaged, or not easily accessible. This technique may also be used for teeth that have yet to fully erupt or in anatomically challenging positions. 

During a surgical extraction, a dentist or oral surgeon may need to make an incision in the gum tissue and possibly remove bone around the tooth to access and extract it. Depending on the size of the tooth, the procedure may also involve sectioning it into smaller pieces for easier removal.

Before a surgical extraction, your dentist will review the treatment plan with you and order imaging tests such as X-rays or CT scans to assess the tooth’s position and surrounding structures. Based on the complexity of the extraction and patient preference, your dentist may use local anesthesia, intravenous sedation, or general anesthesia to ensure you’re comfortable during the procedure.

Following a surgical extraction, you may experience more swelling, bruising, and discomfort than a simple extraction. Your dentist will provide post-op instructions, including how to manage pain and swelling, and may prescribe pain medications to help you ease any discomfort. As with a simple extraction, your dentist may discuss options for replacing the extracted tooth, if necessary, after your incisions heal. 


At MR Dental Aesthetics, we believe that tooth extraction doesn’t have to be a stressful or traumatic experience. That’s why our team, led by world-renowned cosmetic dentist Dr. Rashti, prioritizes your safety and comfort above all else, ensuring that your procedure is relaxed and painless every step of the way.

We’re committed to providing personalized care to every patient, with compassion and privacy at the top of our list. When you visit us at MR Dental Aesthetics, Dr. Rashti will take the time to listen to your concerns and create a tailored plan of action to meet your unique expectations. So whether you require a tooth extraction, periodontal treatment, cosmetic restoration, or a combination of all three, we’re here to provide you with the elevated dental care you deserve. 

If you have more questions about what is a dental extraction or whether you might need one, call 310-623-3330 or schedule an appointment online with a leading Beverly Hills cosmetic dentist.  


What is an extraction in dental care?

A dental extraction, or tooth extraction, is a dental procedure that involves removing a tooth from its socket inside the jaw. This procedure is usually recommended when a tooth is severely decayed, damaged, or overcrowded, or when specific dental issues arise. Dentists or oral surgeons are trained to perform dental extractions with precision and care.

How long does it take to recover from a dental tooth extraction?

The recovery period following a tooth extraction can be different for each person, and it depends on factors like the complexity of the extraction and the technique used. Typically, the initial healing period lasts between 1 and 2 weeks, during which swelling and discomfort gradually subside. However, the complete healing of the extraction site may take several weeks to months. 

How much is a dental extraction?

The cost of a dental extraction can vary based on several factors, such as the technique used, the number of teeth that need to be extracted, the location of the dental practice, whether or not sedation is required, and other factors. 

How painful is a tooth extraction?

Although tooth extractions may cause some discomfort, the procedure is generally carried out under local anesthesia or mild sedation to numb the area and minimize pain during the process. Your dentist may also prescribe pain medications to help you manage discomfort during recovery. Most patients report feeling mild to moderate pressure during the procedure and some discomfort after an extraction of a tooth.

Should I take the day off work after a tooth extraction?

Whether you need to take the day off work after a tooth extraction depends on the complexity of the extraction, your pain tolerance, and the nature of your job. Many people feel well enough to return to work the next day after simple extractions. However, for surgical extractions or if you experience significant discomfort, swelling, or bleeding, you may need to take a day or two off to rest and recover.

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