In general, we want to preserve your natural teeth as long as we can. However, there comes a point when it’s time to admit that the best course of action is removing the tooth and replacing it, hopefully with a dental implant.
But how do you know when you’ve reached that point? Here are a few situations where that might be the case.
It Is Dangerously Infected
An infected tooth can be a source for dangerous, even life-threatening infections. Left untreated, these infections can spread to your blood, your heart, your lungs, your sinuses, even your brain.
Sometimes, the best treatment option for controlling the infection involves removing the affected teeth. In this case, we have to choose between removing the tooth and risking your life, and it’s better to remove the tooth.
It’s “Hopelessly” Loose
Advanced gum disease destroys the supporting bone around your teeth. In the early stages, we can hope to reverse this process by splinting the loose tooth to other teeth for support, then treating the gum disease and restoring bone with other treatments.
But sometimes gum disease has progressed to the point that we’re unlikely to be able to restore the bone around the tooth. It might also be that so many teeth have lost bone that there isn’t one nearby that can serve as an anchor for splinting.
It Interferes with Treatment
Sometimes, your current tooth is an obstacle to treating gum disease or other oral health problems.
If keeping the tooth will make your treatment less likely to succeed, we might recommend removing it, completing treatment, and then replacing it. Other times, we might try treatment first, see the results, and then recommend removing the tooth if treatment didn’t work the first time.
It’s Badly Damaged
With restorations like dental crowns, we can repair many badly damaged teeth. However, there are some cases where the tooth is just too badly damaged to restore.
One type of damage that is hard to restore is a cracked root. Because the root is embedded in the jawbone, we can’t access it to restore it properly. It will remain weak and liable to fail, so it’s not worth trying to preserve. Plus, a cracked root is an invitation to infection, which can cause potentially serious problems later.
You Are Sick of the Fight
Sometimes, patients have a tooth that is nothing but trouble. We place fillings. They fail. We place a crown. Decay gets under it. And all along the way, the patient experiences toothaches, gum irritation, and other problems.
At a certain point, you might just get sick of constantly treating a problem tooth and want to replace it with an attractive, healthy, problem-free dental implant. In that situation, we won’t blame you at all, and it’s completely your decision.
Get Your Tooth Evaluated
Do you have a tooth that you think might need to be extracted? We can evaluate the tooth and let you know if it can be saved or not. Usually it can, but we’ll talk to you about the costs and benefits so that you can decide if you’d rather remove it and get a dental implant instead. It’s important to understand that even dentures now represent a quality tooth replacement option that is both more attractive and more functional than ever.