As a child, you expected to lose teeth. Your parents and other authority figures told you that it would happen as part of growing up. They also told you that once you grew your permanent set of teeth, you would have to depend on that set for the rest of your life.

True, you will not grow any more teeth. However, you could still lose your adult teeth due to trauma, illness, and other factors as outlined below. If you find yourself in any of the situations outlined in this post, know that you will not spend the rest of your years with gaps in your smile. You do have replacement options-these replacements will just be synthetic.

1. You Develop a Serious Cavity or Abscess

In most cases, adults require tooth extraction because they develop serious cavities that either eat away at enamel or turn into painful abscesses. When this occurs, your dentist could save the tooth with an extensive filling, but that filling might not give the tooth the structural support it needs. You would be better served by removing the tooth and getting an implant or bridge instead.

2. You Have Advanced Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease can make your gums recede. When your gums recede enough, they no longer securely anchor your teeth. Your teeth could fall out anyway, so your dentist will save you the discomfort by removing at-risk teeth in advance.

3. You Have a Serious Infection

In addition to cavities and periodontal disease, other infections can damage your teeth and gums. For example, if you have pericoronitis, or a concentrated infection around a tooth's crown, then you might need to have the affected tooth removed. To catch pericoronitis and similar infections, remember to visit your dentist regularly.

4. You Need Your Wisdom Teeth Removed

If you have wisdom teeth that haven't caused you any problems, then you do not need to remove them. You only need to remove them if they move your teeth and jaw out of alignment or if they cause infections and discomfort. Consult with your dentist to see if you need your wisdom teeth extracted.

5. Your Teeth Will Not Fit in Your Mouth, Even With Orthodontics

Genetics may have given you larger teeth and a smaller jaw. Even if you undergo significant orthodontic work, your teeth might not fit in your mouth. Your dentist will extract extra teeth to resolve this problem so you can have a balanced and comfortable bite.

6. You Have Supernumerary Teeth

Genetics causes the problem in this case as well. Supernumerary teeth are extra, unnecessary teeth that grow in your mouth, sometimes in unusual places and sometimes in the place of a tooth that should normally grow in that spot. Your dentist will remove the extra teeth to free up space.

7. You Suffer a Blow or Other Injury to the Jaw

After cavities, trauma represents the biggest threat to an adult's teeth. Trauma can occur during sports and other physical activities. It can happen as the result of an automobile accident or similar incident. You can also experience tooth trauma if you try to open a bottle or packaging with your mouth. Should the damage to your teeth prove severe, your dental caregiver will extract the teeth and replace them.

8. You Undergo Radiation Therapy or Chemotherapy Around Your Face

Radiation therapy and chemotherapy can have an adverse effect on your dental health. If your dentist sees at-risk teeth in your mouth, he or she will recommend that you remove them before undergoing chemical or radiation treatment.

9. You Have to Take Immunosuppressive Medications After an Organ Transplant

Immunosuppressive medications increase your risk for infection, especially in your mouth. Again, if you have at-risk teeth, your dentist will usually recommend an extraction.

10. You Have Malformed or Unsightly Teeth

Finally, you can also request an extraction on your own terms if you have unattractive teeth or enamel that formed in an unusual manner. Of course, your dentist may recommend that you consider veneers or crowns instead, but the decision lies with you.

Dental implants, bridges, and even dentures can fill the gaps in your smile if you find yourself in any of the above situations. Should you have any other questions about general tooth care, peruse our other blog posts.