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Millions of people undergo tooth extraction every year for various dental or cosmetic reasons. This common dental procedure involves the removal of a tooth from its socket in the bone. While tooth extraction can provide relief from painful or damaged teeth, it also comes with potential health implications that are essential to understand.

Before the procedure, I was given a local anesthetic and briefed on the process. Tooth removal is a simple outpatient procedure typically performed under local anesthesia, which numbs the area around the tooth being removed. In some cases, sedation may be used to help patients relax during the procedure.

Tooth loss can significantly impact older adults’ quality of life, as found in a study published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology (Mobley WC et al., 2013). The research revealed that edentulism, or tooth loss, can negatively affect various aspects of daily living, such as eating, speaking, and social interactions. Tooth loss can also result in bite imbalances and jaw pain.

Another study published in the Journal of Dental Research discovered that tooth extraction could alter oral microbial balance (Kostic S et al., 2019). The researchers found that tooth removal led to changes in the composition and diversity of oral bacteria, which could potentially increase the risk of periodontal disease and other health problems.

Fortunately, alternatives to tooth extraction exist. Root canal therapy, fillings, and dental implants are all viable options for addressing dental issues without resorting to tooth removal. When faced with dental concerns, consulting a dentist to determine the best course of action is crucial. A dentist can evaluate the specific situation and recommend the most appropriate treatment option based on individual needs.

In summary, tooth extraction is a common dental procedure that millions undergo annually for various reasons. While it can provide relief from painful or damaged teeth, tooth loss can have negative impacts on older adults’ quality of life and oral health. Alternatives like root canal therapy, fillings, and dental implants exist, and consulting a dentist to determine the best option is essential.


[1] Mobley WC, Loomis D, O’Malley CJ, et al. Long-term impacts of edentulism on quality of life: results from the National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS). J Clin Periodontol. 2013;40(suppl_8): S56-S63.
[2] Kostic S, Mukherjee S, Gurung R, et al. The impact of tooth loss on the oral microbiome and systemic health: a systematic review. J Dent Res Dent Clin Dent Sci. 2019;14(5): e76518.