Toothaches can be excruciating. And for many, pulling a tooth sounds like an easy way out. When there is severe damage or infection, tooth extraction is a practical choice. But, not all damaged or decayed teeth must be removed.
Saving your natural teeth should be your first choice for best-looking teeth and solid dental health. The question is, when is the right time to pull a tooth, and when to decide to save it? Here, we will answer all your queries.
Should You Save a Tooth?
According to a survey, younger individuals value saving their natural teeth as much as possible, if not more, than other areas of their body. Around 24% of millennials evaluated ranked their teeth as the number one thing they would maintain or save. (1)
So, why is it better to save a tooth? When you save the natural teeth, you keep the natural structure of the jaw and mouth. This lets you keep chewing as you normally would. But, missing teeth can trigger a chain reaction, which will alter the alignment of the teeth.
This can, then, alter the way you do things permanently. Like talk, chew, or eat. Therefore, it is critical to use preventive dental care to decrease future tooth loss. Here are a couple of signs a tooth is worth saving. Such as (2)
- Tooth infection: This is a collection of bacteria and pus that form inside the gums or teeth.
- Plaque buildup: It is a colorless and sticky film of bacteria that affects the teeth.
- Cavities: Known as tooth decay, treatment can help reverse the damage.
A major deciding factor when determining if you can save a tooth is how much “good” structure that tooth has left. If there is a huge cavity that reaches all the way to the bone, then there is only so much a dentist can do to save it.
Is It Better to Pull a Tooth?
Wondering when a tooth is not worth saving? When the infection runs deep or the structure of the tooth is severely damaged, extracting it works well. The tooth is brittle, weak, and severely damaged, which is why your dentist can suggest an extraction. These are the signs a tooth needs to be pulled:
- The tooth is very loose
- The tooth is badly broken under the gumline
- You had multiple root canals done to the tooth
- Persistent pain and bad breath
- Tooth misalignment
- Trouble chewing
- The tooth infection is spreading to the soft tissue, bone, or other teeth
After extracting a tooth, the dentist can suggest different treatment opportunities. The goal is to replace the missing tooth and fill in that gap. Options such as dental implants, removable partial dentures, or applying fixed bridges can provide that necessary support. (3)
What Happens if You Pull a Tooth and Don’t Replace It?
If you recently had a tooth extraction, you will need to replace the missing teeth. If you don’t, then the other teeth can shift, which can get in the way of your normal chewing habits. The mouth also becomes weaker and loses density. To keep your teeth in tip-top shape, book regular dental appointments.