There are lots of things your dentist can do to save a troubled tooth, but sometimes a tooth simply can't be saved. Here are some reasons a tooth may need to be extracted.
If trauma damages a tooth, it's possible that a dentist can repair it with a filling or crown. Fillings help to fix the tooth and restore it to its normal function, and they help prevent future decay. Crowns are used when there's damage to the tooth's structure. They cover the tooth from the gum line to the chewing surface. However, if the tooth is damaged beyond repair, it will likely need to be pulled.
You may need to have a tooth extracted if the existing ones are overcrowded. This is often done when a person is getting braces or other orthodontic treatment. Removing one tooth can create the necessary room needed for the other teeth to move into line. Sometimes a tooth is unable to erupt because there just isn't enough room for it. The tooth may need to be extracted in that case.
A tooth can become infected if decay or damage moves into the pulp. The pulp is the center of the tooth that contains sensitive nerves and blood vessels. A dentist or oral surgeon can attempt to repair the damage and stop the infection by performing a root canal. During root canal therapy, the dentist removes the pulp and cleans the inside of the tooth. He or she then fills the tooth and seals it. However, not every infected tooth can be saved by a root canal.
One of the most common causes of tooth loss is gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. Gum disease occurs when the gums pull away from the teeth and create pockets that become infected. The infection triggers the body's natural immune response which, together with bacterial toxins, begins to break down the bones and connective tissue that hold the teeth in place, ultimately destroying them if a dentist doesn't treat it. The teeth will loosen and eventually require extraction.
While it used to be expected that people would lose their natural teeth as they aged, with proper care and advances in dentistry, more and more people are keeping some or all of their teeth throughout their lives. In the event that a tooth is lost, a dental implant procedure can help prevent problems with shifting teeth and impaired chewing ability.