When you think about tooth extractions, you may picture dental floss tied to a door handle or remember trinkets brought to you by the Tooth Fairy. However, while natural tooth loss generally occurs during childhood, extractions can become necessary at any age.

Adult tooth extraction¬†only occurs when tooth removal is the best option for the patient’s smile and oral health. You may need this procedure by any of the following five reasons for adult tooth removal.

1. Advanced Tooth Decay

For many adults, cavities seem like a tiny problem that most likely won’t affect the appearance or health of their smile. However, when cavities and other forms of dental decay are left untreated over long periods of time, they can compromise the entire structure of the affected tooth.

In some cases, they can remove the decay through root canal therapy. But if there is not enough structurally sound tooth left, extraction may be necessary instead.

Removing the decay prevents the issue from spreading from tooth to tooth or even to the jawbone. Additionally, since many teeth that become this decayed cause immense pain, the extraction can help a patient smile, chew, and speak normally again.

2. Complications of Periodontal Disease

Sometimes extraction is needed not because of the characteristics of the tooth itself, but due to the characteristics of the gum tissue that supports it. Developed periodontal disease can cause numerous oral health issues, from bad breath to tooth looseness.

With this type of periodontal disease, the tooth would likely eventually fall out on its own due to the loss of gum tissue support. Professional removal reduces the risk of complications and eliminates the discomfort of a loose adult tooth.

3. Extensive Tooth Damage

Not all tooth damage occurs over long periods of time. Oral trauma can happen suddenly and may affect the structure of multiple teeth. Some types of dental trauma can be handled similarly to minor tooth decay, such as through the use of fillings.

However, if the damage has reached the root structure, the natural tooth will likely always cause the patient pain and put him or her at risk of tooth decay. In this situation, your dentist will likely recommend removal instead of restoration.

4. Risks Related to Serious Oral Infection

While many oral infections heal easily due to the chemical characteristics of the mouth, persistent oral infections can sometimes become dangerous. Not only can infections reach secondary teeth and the jawbone as mentioned in section one, but infections may affect whole body health as well.

Because the mouth is near the brain, spinal column, sinuses, and ears, if an oral infection spreads, it can have devastating consequences for the patient. Tooth removal may protect the patient from more serious future issues. This reason for extraction is particularly common in patients with autoimmune diseases or current chemotherapy.

5. Tooth Positioning That Would Inhibit Cosmetic Work

Most adult tooth extractions occur out of medical necessity, but extraction may also be part of your cosmetic dental plan. For example, extraction may be needed to fit a patient with dentures or to provide effective orthodontia to a patient with closely crowded teeth.

In cosmetic situations, the missing tooth is almost always replaced with an artificial tooth, whether that replacement comes in the form of a bridge, implant, or dentures.

While the prospect of adult tooth extraction can be intimidating, the removal can eliminate your oral pain or give you the opportunity to achieve your ideal smile. If you have questions about the specific reasons why your dentist recommended extraction over another treatment, bring up your concerns during your consultation before the procedure.

For expert general and cosmetic dental care, including tooth extractions, trust the experienced team at Ashley Dental Associates, P.A.