Sometimes, a tooth may need to be extracted because it is severely decayed, suffers from advanced periodontal disease and has lost most bony support, or has broken in a way that cannot be repaired. Other teeth may need to be removed because they are poorly positioned in your mouth and jawbone, such as impacted teeth that are encased in bone, or, in preparation for orthodontic movement. When a tooth in function is extracted, its loss can have a major impact on your dental health, including your chewing ability, adjacent teeth, and smile. You may lose chewing function upon losing a tooth because the opposing tooth does not have a tooth to chew against. Adjacent teeth may shift and drift, resulting in malpositioned, crowded, and displaced teeth. Finally, your smile will be impacted, especially if the missing tooth is exposed during normal emoting, including laughter and excitement.

During the extraction process you will feel a lot of pressure even though you will be numb. This pressure sensation is from the process of firmly rocking the tooth back and forth to widen the socket and release the tooth. Sometimes, the tooth may need to be cut into several pieces and each section removed one by one because the roots are curved, and the socket cannot expand enough. Sometimes, bone may need to be removed as well to encourage the pieces to come out atraumatically.

When a tooth is extracted, it is important for a blood clot to form to initiate the healing process. A bone graft to fill in the remaining tooth socket can help stabilize this clot. Bone graft material is placed into the socket and covered by a membrane to hold the bone graft particles in place.

It is normal to lose a few bone graft particles from underneath the membrane – you may feel them on your cheeks or tongue. However, it is important to avoid manipulating the surgical site and sutures prematurely to prevent total loss of the bone graft.

If you desire an implant to replace the tooth in the future, bone grafting is necessary to preserve the alveolar ridge. Without a tooth or bone graft in place, the remaining jawbone will remodel and regress, resulting in a large deficiency that will require greater surgical intervention in the future if you wanted an implant.

If you receive a bone graft during your extraction, the typical healing period to allow the graft to turnover is 3-4 months. At that time, a CBCT 3D radiograph can be made and the implant can be planned and placed. Learn more about our CBCT technology here.