Simple Tooth Extraction Vs. Surgical Tooth Extraction: How Do They Differ?

Having a tooth extracted is not usually something anyone looks forward to. However, in some cases, it is the only option to help relieve a patient's pain or to help straighten their teeth. When a patient needs a tooth or teeth extracted, it is normally done by either simple extraction or by surgical extraction. These are some ways that these two procedures differ.

Simple Tooth Extractions

Simple tooth extractions are performed when the tooth that needs to be removed is clearly visible in the mouth. This procedure can be performed in the dental office and does not require the patient to be asleep while the tooth is extracted. A local anesthetic is normally given by injection in the gum area where the tooth is being removed. This numbs the area so that the patient feels no pain.

The dentist uses two types of dental instruments to extract the tooth. These include an elevator and dental forceps. The elevator is first used to loosen the tooth so it can be more easily removed. Dental forceps are used to grasp the tooth firmly and wiggle it back and forth to break it loose from the ligaments that attach it to the bone. Once the tooth is no longer attached to the bone, it can be extracted quickly and easily.

Surgical Tooth Extractions

Surgical tooth extractions are more complex than simple tooth extractions. This type of extraction is performed when the dentist or oral surgeon does not have easy access to the tooth that needs to be removed. This may be due to the tooth not being completely erupted through the gums. Alternatively, part of the tooth may be broken off, and the remaining part under the gums must be removed. For instance, wisdom teeth commonly must be removed by surgical extraction because they are not completely through the gums but are causing the patient severe pain.

When a surgical extraction is necessary, the patient is often under a general anesthetic so that he is asleep while the procedure is performed. This procedure usually takes place in a dental hospital instead of a dentist's office. An incision is made around the tooth so that the dentist or oral surgeon can have enough access to the tooth that it can be removed. Once the incision has been made, the same dental instruments are used to extract the tooth. However, in some cases, the tooth may be impacted deep into the gums and may need to be removed in several small pieces.

While both procedures can relieve pain and reduce the risk of infection and inflammation occurring in a bad tooth, delayed healing may be an issue if the patient is already taking certain medications or suffers from diabetes. It is best to speak with your dentist about this so you know what to expect after the tooth extraction.