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Most people are ok with the thought of losing a few teeth naturally as we age. Keeping all 28 adult teeth (32 if you include wisdom teeth) until we’re well in to our senior years is a great goal to set and can be achieved when dental care remains a priority throughout a lifetime. But we all know that accidents can happen and our physical health can deteriorate and impact our oral health; resulting in teeth having to be extracted. Sometimes extracting a tooth is unavoidable and can even be the best course of action for an individual’s dental health.
While there are several treatments available that can save a tooth – sometimes too much damage to the tooth and surrounding tissue makes alternate treatment choices unrealistic. When decay is diagnosed in its early stages treatment is easily performed and a tooth’s health is restored with the placement of a filling. But in situations when decay has advanced to include all tissues of the tooth – enamel, dentin and pulp – the tooth may not be able to be successfully restored so an extraction is recommended to deal with the decay and any associated infection. Trauma to a tooth can also result in the tooth being extracted not only because the tooth itself is damaged but the surrounding tissue – bone and ligaments – may also be traumatized.
In order to move teeth there has to be some room in which to manoeuvre. When teeth are excessively crowded tooth extraction may be needed in order to create some space in which to move other teeth and create a healthy arch form. Though it’s often the last recommendation as the goal is always to keep healthy teeth – tooth extraction may be necessary when it involves the health of other teeth and creating a functional bite.
Teeth that are infected due to periodontal disease or necrotic pulpal tissue sometimes have to be extracted so that all traces of infection are removed. Patients who have a compromised immunity due to chemotherapy treatment and other illnesses are unable to fight infection in the body – so removing teeth that may be the source of infection is highly recommended in order to help the body remain as strong as possible.
Nobody wants to lose a tooth – but sometimes it can be the best thing for the health of the patient and the mouth as a whole.