A dental extraction (also referred to as tooth extraction, exodontia, exodontics, or historically, tooth pulling) is the removal of teeth from the dental alveolus (socket) in the alveolar bone. Extractions are performed for a wide variety of reasons, but most commonly to remove teeth which have become unrestorable through tooth decay, periodontal disease or dental trauma; especially when they are associated with toothache. What to expect with tooth extraction Dentists and oral surgeons (dentists with special training to perform surgery) perform tooth extractions. Before removing the tooth, your dentist will give you an injection of a local anaesthetic (or pain medicine) to numb the area where the tooth will be removed. If you are having more than one tooth extracted or a tooth is impacted, your dentist may use a general anaesthetic, this will prevent pain throughout your body and make you sleep through the procedure. If the tooth is impacted, the dentist will cut away gum and bone tissue that cover the tooth and then, using forceps, grasp the tooth and gently rock it back and forth to loosen it from the jaw bone and ligaments that hold it in place. Sometimes, a tooth that is difficult to remove must be taken out in pieces. Once the tooth has been extracted, a blood clot usually forms in the socket. The dentist will pack a gauze pad into the socket and get you to bite down on it to help stop the bleeding. Sometimes the dentist will place a few stitches -- usually self-dissolving -- to close the gum edges over the extraction site. Sometimes, the blood clot in the socket breaks loose, exposing the socket – causing a painful condition called dry socket. If this happens, your dentist will probably place a special dressing over the socket for a few days to protect it as a new clot forms.