Skip to main content

Simple versus surgical tooth extraction

There are several situations in which your dentist may recommend one of your teeth be extracted. Some examples include severe tooth decay, irreparable damage to your tooth, a serious infection or crowding of the mouth.

In this post, we’ll explain the difference between “simple” and surgical extractions and when each type is needed.

No incision needed

Simple extractions are typically performed by a general dentist, whereas surgical extractions require an oral surgeon. While a simple extraction calls for skill and finesse, it is performed without the need for an incision. After injecting a local anesthetic, your dentist will use tools to loosen the fibers that hold your tooth in place and gently remove the tooth with little to no discomfort.

A surgical extraction requires more complex techniques and the expertise of an oral surgeon. While more invasive than a simple extraction with a slightly longer recovery period, surgical extractions are usually painless and postop discomfort can usually be managed with ice packs and over-the-counter pain medications.

The root of the problem

The primary determining factor between simple and surgical extractions is to look at root structure. A tooth with a single root is more likely to be a candidate for a simple extraction, whereas teeth with multiple roots are more complicated.

The angle your tooth sits in its socket is also important. The straighter the tooth is, the easier it is to extract.

Damaged or broken teeth

A simple extraction is performed only when your dentist is confident that both the crown and root can be extracted in one piece. If your tooth is fractured and may break during the extraction, a surgical extraction might be necessary.

Diagnosis and analysis

Determining which type of extraction your tooth will need requires a thorough dental examination, including x-rays or other imaging. Your dentist or oral surgeon will look for the nature, location and angle of your roots and check for potential defects in the tooth that could make a simple extraction potentially problematic.

What’s next?

Both simple and surgical tooth extractions can be restored with a dental implant. Talk to your dentist or oral surgeon about installing a dental implant at the same time as your extraction. The sooner you replace a missing tooth following extraction the better.