We usually try to preserve your natural teeth as long as possible. For all our advances in dental technology, we still don’t have a replacement that’s as good as your natural teeth.
But sometimes we have to acknowledge that a tooth’s time has come. The best solution is to extract the tooth and replace it with a dental bridge or denture. How do you know when your tooth’s time has come? Here are some factors to consider.
Can the Tooth Be Saved?
The easiest call is when a tooth can’t be saved–or likely won’t be saved–no matter what we do. Some teeth are beyond repair. Damaged roots or loss of bone around the tooth are among the most common situations where a tooth can’t be saved and needs to be extracted.
If that’s the case, we will strongly recommend removing the tooth.
Is the Tooth a Threat?
The next situation where we might recommend removing a tooth is when the tooth is actually a threat to your health and/or your other teeth.
If a tooth is infected, root canal therapy might be able to save the tooth, but sometimes the infection needs to be handled quickly before it spreads or to help control an already wide-ranging infection. This situation could be life-threatening, so immediate action might be necessary.
Gum disease could also be the problem. If a tooth has developed extensive gum disease around it, we might need to pull the tooth to aid in treatment of the gum disease before it threatens your other teeth.
Is It More Expensive to Save?
You might also choose to remove a tooth when it will be more expensive to save than to replace it. We might need to splint a tooth and give it long-term treatments such as periodontal cleanings. Or perhaps root canal therapy and a dental crown could make a tooth more expensive to save than to replace.
In this case, you might choose to remove a tooth rather than save it.
You Are Tired of a Problem Tooth
Sometimes, too, people just get exhausted by the battle to save a tooth. A tooth that gets recurrent decay, failed fillings, and the loss of a crown can start to seem like more trouble than it’s worth. The thought of more procedures to save the tooth seems like a less attractive option than pulling the tooth and replacing it with a dental bridge or denture.