When you have a seriously infected tooth, you may be faced with the question if you should save your tooth or not. Before you make a decision, we want you to understand the importance of saving your natural teeth.
When you have damage to a tooth from tooth decay, fractures, trauma, or other causes, you have some options:
- If the damage is repairable, an endodontist can perform a root canal to save the tooth.
- A dentist or oral surgeon can extract the tooth and replace it with a synthetic implanted tooth.
- If the extraction site cannot receive an implant, then a fixed or removable dentures can be used.
- You can also choose to have the tooth extracted without replacing it, but we usually do not recommend this option due to the negative impacts it can have.
Extracting the Tooth without Replacing It
You may think the simplest solution is to have the tooth extracted. But there are drawbacks to not replacing an extracted tooth. When a tooth is missing, damage can be caused to your jaw and remaining teeth. Here are some important points to consider:
- Your teeth play an important role in processing food. Chewing your food is the first stage of digestion. When a tooth is missing, it changes the natural way this occurs. Additionally, the teeth that surround the gap have to take on more force to make up for the missing tooth. This can cause damage to those surrounding teeth.
- When a tooth is missing, you no longer get the stress that that tooth exerted on the jaw. Lacking that stress, your jaw can suffer from bone loss in that area and affect other teeth as well.
- The teeth on either side of the missing tooth space will move and tilt from their natural position. This changes your natural bite. Also, it can make these teeth more prone to decay and gum disease because it can be harder to keep the teeth clean.
- The space created from the pulled tooth may affect your appearance, especially when you smile.
Replacing the Tooth with Dentures
Dentists can replace missing teeth with removable dentures. They cost less than a fixed replacement. However, they are much harder to maintain and usually require many more appointments as adjustments will be needed. They also tend to be a bit bulkier than just having a normal tooth in place. Sticky foods such as gum, candy, and cheese can stick to them and cause them to fall out. Dentures can increase the build-up of plaque around the supporting teeth which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Trauma to the supporting teeth or gums can occur from pressure or movement of the denture. Also, there is a chance you can still suffer bone loss at the sight of the missing tooth even if you are wearing a denture.
Dentists use dental implants to replace missing teeth that are otherwise non-restorable. Patients often prefer to get dental implants instead of dentures or bridgework. When there is a lack of natural teeth to allow building a denture or bridge, dental implants may be the only option for a missing tooth. A major benefit of implants is that you have solid support for your new tooth. Cosmetically, it also looks much better than a missing tooth. However, be aware that the recovery time for a dental implant averages 6 to 8 months. They tend to cost more and are not perfect. Implants are good for replacing missing teeth or unrestorable teeth, but not ideal for replacing a natural tooth that can be saved. Our goal is to save your own natural tooth.
Endodontists are specialists in root canal treatment. We use state-of-the-art equipment to get a microscopic view into your teeth. Our offices here in Apple Valley and Lakeville, MN, have invested in the Gentle Wave technology. This technology has completely redefined the root canal procedure. This technology is a minimally invasive alternative to standard root canal treatment. It utilizes Multisonic Ultracleaning® technology. Sound waves and a stream of treatment fluid thoroughly and painlessly remove the damaged tissue and bacteria. With this tool, we can reach through the entire root canal system. Success rates are similar to dental implants, at a more reasonable cost and function much better than dentures. By keeping your natural teeth, you will retain your natural bite which will also help preserve your jaw bone.
The Bottom Line
Whether you are suffering from pain, or have infection that may not be causing any symptoms, your tooth needs immediate attention. The longer you delay, the more complications and pain you may have to suffer. Also, there may be more damage or infection that may occur to the tooth and bone the longer it is not treated.
Most of the time it is more advantageous to save your natural teeth. Although you can replace a missing tooth with a denture or implant, they will never be the same as your natural teeth.
Contact us to find out about the procedures we offer in our office to save your natural teeth.
Dr. J.D. Simonton
Modern Care Endodontics