As a rite of passage, tooth extraction is one dental procedure that most people go through in their lives. If you are lucky, yours will be a simple tooth extraction. Here’s what you can expect.

What is a simple tooth extraction?

A simple tooth extraction is necessary for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Extra teeth are blocking other teeth from coming in
  • Baby teeth that are not allowing the permanent teeth to erupt need to be removed
  • Orthodontic work or braces require more room
  • Radiation treatments to the head and neck require simple tooth extraction in the field of radiation
  • Teeth have become infected through the use of cancer drugs and are weakened to the point that they cannot be repaired
  • Infected teeth that occur after organ transplant are removed due to their potential to become a source of severe infection
  • Wisdom teeth that are causing pain or crowding are extracted to create room and a more natural bite
  • Periodontal disease or decay has damaged the tooth beyond what a dental crown can fix

If any of these reasons are present, a simple extraction removes the tooth from the tooth socket in the jawbone.

Surgical extraction vs simple extraction

There are some differences between a surgical extraction vs simple extraction. A simple tooth extraction occurs when the tooth being extracted is clearly visible above the gumline and is not curved at the root or otherwise wedged into the jaw.

A surgical extraction is a much more involved procedure. The tooth being extracted may only be partially erupted, or it may be firmly attached to the underlying bone structures in such a way that it would be challenging to pull it from the mouth.

Your doctor will use surgical extraction when there are complicating factors that mean the tooth needs more help than just pulling or twisting to be extracted.

When can I get a simple tooth extraction?

A simple extraction can be performed when a dental X-ray confirms that the tooth to be extracted can be safely and completely extracted without damage to the underlying structures of the jaw.

An X-ray will confirm the position and location of the tooth. It will also show any connection to the sinuses (in the case of the upper teeth) and the inferior alveolar nerve (in relation to the lower teeth). The inferior alveolar nerve provides feeling to the lower jaw, lower teeth, lower lip, and chin.

Additionally, an X-ray will confirm that there are no complicating factors present (e.g. tumors or cysts) before your dentist proceeds with the extraction.

Is wisdom teeth removal a simple extraction?

It is possible to have a simple extraction of the wisdom teeth.

The same criteria applies to wisdom teeth as other teeth: the tooth must be fully erupted and not attached to bone in such a way that would complicate the extraction or make surgery necessary.

Can I get a simple extraction on back molars?

You have three sets of molars, with the last set being your wisdom teeth. As with wisdom tooth extraction, you can get a simple tooth extraction on the first and second set of molars if they are erupted in such a way that makes this possible.

For many people, this is not the case, but an X-ray will confirm if you are one of the lucky ones.

What are the steps for a simple tooth extraction procedure?

A simple tooth extraction starts with a complete medical history and dental exam that includes X-rays. Your dentist will then numb the tooth and gum in the area of the extraction with an injection of an anesthetic like Novocain. Some patients may also receive a prescription for a mild sedative or antibiotics (to prevent infection) before the simple tooth extraction.

Patients with behavioral problems, young children, and those who are very anxious about their simple tooth extraction may receive conscious sedation (or twilig