Types of Extraction Forceps

Updated February 21, 2017

Dentists and oral surgeons use extraction forceps to pull teeth. Extraction forceps consist of two parts that are crossed and hinged to form one instrument, similar to a pair of pliers. The instrument's handles are located above the hinge and the two beaked blades, used for grasping the tooth in the slight indentation between the crown and the root, are below the hinge. Since tooth size and structure varies, dentists require different types of extraction forceps with beaks designed for removing specific teeth.

Types of Teeth

Most human adult mouths contain 32 permanent teeth. Teeth lodged within sockets of the upper jaw are called maxillary teeth. Those of the lower jaw are called mandibular teeth. Incisors make up the eight teeth, four top and four bottom, in the front and centre of the mouth. Behind the incisors, on each side of the mouth, are the sharp, pointed canine teeth, of which there are four. Two premolars, also known as bicuspids, occupy the spaces behind the canines. Behind the premolars are the four upper and four lower first and second molars. The four third molars, commonly known as wisdom teeth, reside at the very back of the upper and lower jaws.

Maxillary Extraction Forceps

Dentists remove upper incisors and canine teeth using No. 99C or No. 150 extraction forceps. No. 99C instruments have concave, non-pointed beaks that are in line with the instruments' handles. No. 150 forceps, known as universal forceps, have slightly curved S-shape, concave, non-pointed beaks, and can also be used to extract premolars. No. 286 forceps, with their bayonet-shaped beaks, are useful when removing canine teeth and premolars. The first and second molars on the right and left sides of the mouth are extracted using No. 88R and No.88L forceps, respectively. These S-shaped instruments have pointed buccal, or cheek-side, beaks and concave inner, or palatal, beaks.

Mandibular Extraction Forceps

Mandibular forceps have blades that are at 90 degrees relative to the handles. Dentists use mandibular universal forceps, or No. 151 forceps, for extracting the six front teeth and four premolars of the lower jaw. They have arched handles and concave, non-pointed beaks. Mandibular molar forceps, also known as No. 16 and No. 287 forceps, can be used on the right or left side of the lower jaw to remove the first and second molars. They have straight handles and curved, pointed beaks.

Specialised Extraction Forceps

Specific maxillary and mandibular forceps with more limited applications include third molar forceps, cowhorn molar forceps and root tip forceps. Third molar forceps are long to allow access to the posterior jaw. Cowhorn molar forceps have sharply pointed ends and are used for removing molars with severely decayed crowns. Root forceps have smaller beaks and remove small teeth or fractured roots.

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About the Author

Cynthia Ruscitto has been writing professionally since 2005. Her work has appeared on numerous health and anti-aging websites and blogs, such as WorldHealth, a site representing the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. Ruscitto holds a Bachelor of Science in medical technology, and is a former clinical microbiologist and certified secondary education science teacher.