If a tooth develops a large cavity, a crack, or severe gum disease around it, it may have to be pulled. These teeth are at a higher risk for dental abscesses (infections) that could cause significant pain and swelling. There are reported cases where an abscessed tooth allowed bacteria to get into the bloodstream and even into the brain, which can be fatal.
Wisdom teeth sometimes also need to be extracted if they are painful or if there is not enough room in the mouth for them. Typically, an oral surgeon will remove them, but a general dentist can as well.
When your dentist diagnoses a tooth that cannot be saved, the area will be numbed and prepared for the extraction. A dentist uses a dental elevator to gently expand the bone around the tooth, then uses dental forceps to grab the tooth and lift it out. If necessary, the dentist may have to section the tooth (cut it in half) in order to remove it.
Due to the popularity and success of dental implants, your dentist will most likely place a bone graft in the socket after the extraction. This “tricks” the body into thinking there is still a tooth there, so the bone does not shrink as it heals. This allows you to have an ideal implant placed in the future to replace that missing tooth.
If you have a missing tooth or a tooth that needs to be pulled, be sure to call your dentist and have it treated before it becomes worse. Waiting will only cause you more pain and more expense.