Also referred to as Exodontia, tooth extraction is removal of a tooth or teeth from the jaw bone. There is a wide array of reasons for which a tooth may be extracted. The most common indication is damage to teeth due to caries or trauma. Teeth can be removed due to mobility, infections, abscess, fracture, for orthodontic treatment, if they are preventing the eruption of other teeth or if they are impacted as in the case of wisdom teeth. Exodontia may be a simple extraction where the tooth is grasped with a dental forceps and pulled out or a little more complicated where a surgical extraction is required.
In case of teeth that are inaccessible such as those that have broken below the gum-line or have not fully erupted and are lodged in the bone. A surgical extraction requires and incision and removal of some of the bone around the tooth. The tooth itself is often split into pieces for ease of removal.
Wisdom teeth refer to the four third molars that erupt between the ages of 17-25 years. These teeth are very often problematic. In most jaws, there is inadequate space to accommodate these wisdom teeth which results in the teeth coming in sideways or being unable to erupt through the gum. Such teeth inevitably get decayed and/or painful themselves or push against other teeth causing decay. Impacted teeth ate usually removed before they even start to cause problems. Extraction of impacted wisdom teeth requires the skill of an Oral surgeon and is a surgical extraction.
A partially erupted tooth, particularly the wisdom tooth may have a flap of gum covering the tooth. This flap of tissue is called operculum. Such teeth are more prone to decay and repeated infection of the adjoining tissues. Surgical excision of this operculum is called operculectomy.