If a tooth has been broken or damaged by decay, your dentist will try to fix it with a filling, crown or other treatment. Sometimes, though, there's too much damage for the tooth to be repaired. In this case, the tooth needs to be extracted. Tooth extraction is the removal of a tooth from its socket in the bone. A very loose tooth also will require extraction if it can't be saved, even with bone replacement surgery (bone graft).
Wisdom teeth, also called third molars, are often extracted either before or after they come in. They commonly come in during the late teens or early 20s. They need to be removed if they are decayed, cause pain or have a cyst or infection. These teeth often get stuck in the jaw (impacted) and do not come in. This can irritate the gum, causing pain and swelling. In this case, the tooth must be removed. If you need all four wisdom teeth removed, they are usually taken out at the same time.
Sometimes baby teeth don't fall out in time to allow the permanent teeth to come in.
People getting braces may need teeth extracted to create room for the teeth that are being moved into place.
People receiving radiation to the head and neck may need to have teeth in the field of radiation extracted.
Some teeth may need to be extracted if they could become a source of infection after an organ transplant. People with organ transplants have a high risk of infection because they must take drugs that decrease or suppress the immune system.
If you expect to have treatment with intravenous drugs called bisphosphonates for a medical condition, be sure to see your dentist first. If any teeth need to be extracted, this should be done before your drug treatment begins. Having a tooth extraction after bisphosphonate treatment increases the risk of osteonecrosis (death of bone) in the jaw.