When your tooth is infected or diseased, it may seem like pulling it is the easy choice, especially if you’re in pain. But not so fast! Having that tooth pulled may be the easy choice, but it may not be the best choice. Most people are unaware of the benefits of saving your natural teeth. The choice to pull your tooth or save it is ultimately yours to make, but make sure you know all the facts before making that big decision.
Nothing looks, feels or functions like your natural tooth. Regular brushing and flossing, along with six-month check-ups from your dentist, can help you keep your teeth for a lifetime.
Benefits of Saving Your Tooth
What exactly are the benefits of saving your teeth?
- Natural teeth are stronger. Natural teeth are stronger, function better than artificial ones, and are easier to care for.
- Avoid shifting of teeth. When a tooth is pulled, it creates a gap in your smile, allowing the surrounding teeth to shift. This shifting takes time and can eventually cause problems with chewing and bite alignment. These problems can lead to poor nutrition, and reduced quality of life.
- Maintain your youthful appearance. When teeth are pulled, the roots that support the jaw are pulled as well. When there is a gap in the bone, the surrounding bone will collapse in often making people appear older than they are.
- No loss of confidence. If the tooth to be pulled is visible when you smile, the resulting gap can have a negative impact on your self-confidence. Time and again we see patients who have lost their joyful smile because they are embarrassed about their teeth.
- Less pain. After a tooth is pulled, most patients report several more days of pain, especially if they experience dry socket. When the tooth remains in place through a root canal, the pain is addressed immediately when the infection is eliminated, and there is no chance of dry socket.
- Fewer visits to the dentist. After a tooth has been pulled, a dentist may consider a crown, implant, bridge or other dental device to eliminate the problem of shifting teeth. This can mean more dental visits, more expense, and sometimes more pain.
- Fewer costs. While you may think that pulling a tooth is cheaper than fixing it, the truth is that replacing the tooth costs more time and money. And choosing to not replace it will likely have physical and emotional costs
Pull Your Tooth or Save It: How to Save a Tooth
There are many compelling reasons to hang on to your natural teeth for as long as you can. But decay and infection can make that a challenge and force you to decide to pull your tooth or save it. The answer is usually a root canal, a procedure where the inside of a tooth is cleaned and disinfected to remove the inflamed or infected interior pulp. Once the interior of the tooth is clean, the natural tooth is filled with a substance for strength and protected or restored with a crown, making it function again like any other tooth.
Not only do you save your natural tooth, a root canal eliminates the pain and the recovery time is very brief.
Pull Your Tooth or Save It: When to Have it Extracted
While it is always preferable to save a tooth, there are times when extraction is a better option. When a tooth is cracked, especially if it is cracked below the gum line, or in several places, an extraction may be required. If the tooth is too weak to be restored, it may also be best to have it pulled.
If your dentist is suggesting an extraction, ask if a root canal can be done instead. Having this discussion with your dentist is important to help answer the question, pull your tooth or save it?