If you have a tooth that’s causing you major problems — maybe it’s infected, or maybe you’ve experienced an injury — you might think the best solution is just to pull the tooth, replace it with an implant, and move on.
In some cases, you might be right, but in other situations, saving your tooth may be the better option. At Portrait Dental, we make these kinds of judgement calls for the good of our patients every day.
Here’s our best advice on whether to save or extract your tooth.
Which one is better?
In general, it’s always preferable to save your tooth rather than pull it. Your natural teeth are stronger, function better, and are easier to clean than artificial teeth.
In addition, pulling a tooth can cause your other teeth to shift, which can affect your appearance and your teeth alignment; it can also leave a gap in your jawbone that can make you look older. The recovery process is also easier when your tooth is saved.
What to consider?
Whenever it’s an option, it’s best to keep your natural teeth. However, saving your tooth is not always possible. If your tooth is cracked or broken due to trauma, especially below the gum line, there may not be any way to preserve the tooth.
With infection and decay, the decision can be tricky. In some cases, a root canal to clean out and disinfect the interior of your tooth may be effective. Then your dentist can fill the tooth with a substance that will both strengthen and protect it, allowing you to resume your normal routine. Root canals often result in healthy teeth that can last a lifetime with proper care.
If the infection has caused too much decay and weakened the tooth too much, though, the exterior may not be strong enough to save. In this case, your dentist will have to extract the tooth.
If you and your dentist decide extraction is needed, never fear — with today’s technology, your dentist can replace the tooth so it looks as if there were never a problem. This could involve implants and crowns, or if part of your tooth is broken off, veneers could play a role as well. The replacement tooth will be matched exactly to the same shade as your current teeth, so no one will be able to tell the difference.
Whatever treatment your dentist decides on, know that their primary goal is to restore your smile. If you’re facing a tough decision about what to do with an injured or infected tooth, we’re here to help. Just call the Portrait Dental office or request an appointment on our website. We’ll be happy to take a look at your situation and recommend the best treatment.