An extraction is recommended when a tooth becomes loose from gum disease, when teeth are crowded, when one tooth is preventing another from erupting, or when a tooth is so damaged or decayed that root canal therapy would be ineffective.
Because missing teeth can cause health problems ranging from tooth shifting to difficulty chewing, restorative procedures are recommended following extraction. These may take the form of dental implants, bridges, or dentures.
The procedure itself may require removal of soft or hard tissue depending on whether the tooth is fully erupted. A local anesthetic is usually all that is needed to eliminate discomfort, although general anesthetic may be used for sensitive patients or children.