Unfortunately, not all extractions can be done by simply grasping the tooth with forceps and rocking it out. What if there is nothing left above the gum line to grasp? Or what if the crown breaks off leaving the roots still in the bone? These things can and do happen, and any dentist that extracts teeth will have to deal with them routinely.
In these cases, it becomes necessary to surgically remove the tooth. This is frequently accomplished by prying the root out using a sharp instrument that can be forced between the root and the bone surrounding it. This technique is called “luxation“. In the case of multiple rooted teeth, the roots are first separated so they can be removed individually. Unfortunately, not all roots or root fragments may be removed in this fashion. This means that the dentist must make an incision into the gums around the tooth and raise a flap of tissue exposing the tooth and its surrounding bone.
Sometimes, after the flap is raised, there is enough tooth exposed to grab and remove it as in a simple extraction. Sometimes, the technique described above as luxation may successfully remove the tooth. If luxation fails, the dentist must take a handpiece (drill) and cut away some of the surrounding bone in order to gain a purchase on the tooth. After the tooth has been pried out of the artificially enlarged socket, the dentist then sutures (sews) the flap of tissue back in place so that healing can proceed normally.