5 Common Reasons a Tooth May Need to Be Extracted

No one wants to get a tooth extracted, but in some cases, doing so can be the best way to improve the overall health of your smile. While many procedures can save teeth or strengthen them, if these procedures don't work or if you aren't a good candidate for them, extraction may be necessary. Check out these five common reasons a tooth may need to be pulled.

1. It's Severely Damaged

The most obvious reason to extract a tooth is severe damage. If the tooth has a few cracks or chips, a crown may be enough to protect and strengthen it (in some cases, you may also need root canal therapy, depending on the extent of the damage). Sometimes, even if a large portion of tooth has been lost, the dentist may be able to rebuild the tooth, but this may be best for incisors only.

If the tooth has major damage — for example, if it broke off at the gum line — rebuilding the tooth may be impossible or a waste of time and money. The immense pressure your teeth experience when chewing will destroy the rebuilt tooth. In this case, your best choice is to remove the tooth and choose a replacement option.

2. It Didn't Fully Erupt

The term erupting refers to when teeth break through the gum line. Healthy teeth should completely erupt so that the entire tooth's crown is visible. Many teeth, however, don't fully erupt for various reasons. One common reason is there simply isn't enough room. This is common with wisdom teeth, which is why most patients have them removed.

Another reason a tooth may not fully erupt is that it is growing at an angle. These teeth are known as impacted teeth. Another problem with impacted teeth is they may grow into other teeth. Any tooth that doesn’t fully erupt is at greater risk of infection.

3. It's Underdeveloped

In some cases, your tooth doesn't fully develop, resulting in a small partial tooth or a tooth with minimal enamel. Underdeveloped teeth usually need to be removed because they are in the way. Plus, many underdeveloped teeth cannot fully erupt, making them more likely to become infected or develop a cyst.

Underdeveloped teeth can happen with normal primary and secondary teeth, and they can also happen if you have supernumerary teeth. Supernumerary teeth are extra teeth which start growing after your permanent teeth have developed, which can cause damage.

4. It Prevents a Straight Smile

Sometimes, a completely healthy tooth needs to be removed in order to improve the overall appearance of the smile. This is more common in adults because the palate is already fixed into position. Therefore, the only way to make more room for teeth to straighten is to remove some teeth. For children, expanders can be used to widen the palate.

If you don't have some teeth extracted before getting braces and you have limited space in your mouth, your smile may still not look great after treatment. Teeth may be rotated or overcrowded because of the limited space. Simply removing a few teeth actually makes your finished smile look more natural and beautiful.

5. It Keeps Getting Infected

Ideally, if you get a tooth infection, you get root canal therapy because it eliminates the infection without destroying the tooth. However, some people can't afford root canal therapy, especially if it isn't covered by their dental insurance or if they don't have dental insurance. In this case, an extraction may be necessary to treat the infection.

Even if you choose root canal treatment, however, the tooth can get infected again. If this happens, the tooth roots may have underlying damage, and if the dentist can't correct the problem, extraction may be the only way to prevent future infection and complications.

At Airport Road Dental Associations, we'll do everything we can to protect, strengthen, and improve your smile, including performing an extraction. While extractions aren't ideal, they can be the best way to save your smile. For more information about extraction, contact us today.

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