TOOTH EXTRACTION: Indications, Types, Procedures, Risks, Complications & Cost

This term – one a good number of Nigerians are familiar with – is as plain as it sounds. It simply means the painless removal of a tooth, or root by a Dental Surgeon or Dentist.

Contrary to what many believe, tooth extraction is not the solution to every dental complaint a patient presents with at the clinic.
It is usually done when it has been decided by the attending Dentist to be the treatment with the best possible outcome.

When is tooth extraction necessary? Indications

In many cases, teeth that are broken or damaged by decay can be fixed with a filling, crown, or other dental treatment. Sometimes, though, the damage is too severe to repair, so the dentist will recommend extraction.

Extraction may also be necessary when:

1.A tooth is grossly decayed or fractured

2. Extra teeth (supernumerary teeth) prevent other teeth from growing into the mouth

3. An infection has destroyed a large part of the tooth or surrounding bone

4. Orthodontic treatment may require teeth to be extracted to create space for other teeth that will be moved into place

5. Partially or totally submerged wisdom tooth cause an infection or may compromise the health of an adjacent tooth

Tooth extraction can be of two types:

A simple extraction is performed on a tooth that can be seen in the mouth. It’s common for a general dentist to perform simple extractions. During a simple extraction, your dentist will numb the tooth and gum tissue and loosen the tooth with an instrument called an elevator before removing it with dental forceps.

Tooth extraction
Tooth extraction procedure explained in pictures:
A = Bad tooth
B and C = bad tooth removed
D=socket closed with minor stitches (may not be necessary)
Source: Researchgate

A surgical extraction is a more complex procedure that is used for a tooth that may have broken off at the gumline, or has not come into the mouth yet (in cases of submerged/impacted teeth).

Oral surgeons usually perform surgical extractions. However, they can also be done by general dentists. During a surgical extraction, the doctor will make a small incision (cut) into your gum and remove the underlying tooth. Sometimes they will need to remove some of the bone around the tooth or cut the tooth in half to extract it.

What are the complications that may arise after a tooth extraction?

One of the conditions that might result from an extraction is known as Dry Socket, which occurs in about 3-4% of extraction cases. If a blood clot fails to form in the hole after pulling teeth, or if the blood clot breaks off too soon, the underlying bone is exposed, creating a dry socket. This condition can be painful and should be treated as soon as possible with a medicated bandage to promote healing.

Other potential problems/risks associated with extractions include:

Pain: Post tooth removal pain is expected especially as the anaesthesia given during the procedure wears out. No need to worry, your dentist will give you adequate painkillers to make sure you don’t feel pain at all after the procedure.

Sore Jaw: Your jaw may be sore due to anesthesia or to the strain of keeping your mouth open during the procedure.

READ ALSO: All you need to know about tooth scaling and polishing

Numb Lips and Chin: If the reason for extraction was removal of lower wisdom teeth, your lower lip or chin may be numb for several months if a nerve in that area (the inferior alveolar nerve) was traumatized.

Infection: Infection is always a possibility after extraction but it is unlikely in individuals who have healthy immune systems.

It is important that a tooth extraction is done properly in order to minimize or eliminate the risk of post-extraction complications, hence the need for the procedure to be done by a trained professional(Dentist or Dental Surgeon) cannot be over emphasized.


The cost of tooth extraction ranges between 5,000 and 50,000 NGN, depending on the type of extraction and setting(Government-owned clinics or private clinics). For example, in Lagos, the price of removing a tooth is around NGN15,000 – 50,000 Naira.

Dr. Ofonghor Omon Donatus (BDS, Benin).


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