A dentist will work to preserve your natural smile through other avenues such as a crown or filling, but in certain scenarios such as serious tooth decay, a tooth infection, or overcrowding, a tooth extraction may be warranted. A tooth extraction is performed by a dentist or oral surgeon as an outpatient service that involves general, local, IV anesthesia — or a combination of the three.

A tooth extraction involves removing a damaged tooth from its socket in the jaw bone in one of two procedures including:

A simple extraction – This is a basic dental tooth extraction where the tooth or teeth are visible.

A complex or surgical extraction – This type of tooth extraction is a more involved tooth extraction where teeth are broken, impacted, or beneath the surface. 

More scenarios a tooth extraction may be needed including:

Leftover baby teeth that didn’t fall out and the need to create room for the incoming permanent teeth

Those undergoing radiation in the head or neck

Infected teeth as a result of cancer medication

Wisdom teeth.


Before you have your actual tooth extraction, your dentist will likely take an x-ray of your tooth for a better diagnosis and a clearer picture of what is going on below the surface. Talk to your dentist about any medications or supplements you’re taking, and they can address any issues or complications they may pose.


Your tooth extraction procedure will either be a simple or surgical procedure.

Simple tooth extraction – With a simple tooth extraction you will typically receive a local anesthetic that numbs your tooth and the surrounding areas so you will only feel pressure, but no pain. The dentist will then extract the tooth with an elevator and forceps to complete the procedure.

Surgical extraction – This tooth extraction procedure is more involved and you may likely receive both IV anesthesia and local anesthesia — one helps you relax and stay calm, while the other will numb your mouth so you don’t feel pain. The tooth is then removed by a small incision in your gum — some require removing bone before the tooth can be removed.   

When a filling or crown is unable to fix a damaged tooth, tooth extraction may be the best course of treatment. A tooth extraction is a common dental procedure that removes a tooth by a simple or surgical procedure to ensure the health of your mouth.