A tooth extraction is often the last resort for dentists. When at all possible, dentists look for ways to save a tooth either with dental fillings, crowns, root canals, or other procedures. That said, there are some situations where the only option is to remove a tooth and replace it. Obviously, this can be different based on a patients’ age. Kids sometimes have their teeth pulled because the tooth in question is a primary tooth (or baby tooth) that is blocking the progression of their adult teeth. In these cases, tooth pulling is pretty normal, if a tooth is not wiggling or falling out on their own, a dentist might recommend that the baby tooth is removed to make room for the adult teeth. However, for adults, removing a permanent tooth is a big decision. In this article, we will discuss when this happens, how to prevent it, and what can be done when a tooth is removed.
When Are Adult Teeth Extracted
By and large, adult teeth are extracted because of decay and disease. One of the most common reasons a tooth needs to be extracted is because a patient hasn’t gone to the dentist for months or years of time. Dental decay progresses over time. This is why two dental visits are recommended each year. With only six months, it is very difficult for decay to progress to a point where a tooth needs to be removed. You might have a cavity, or need a root canal, or a dental crown to address damage to the top of a tooth, but it is rare for decay to get so bad that the only option is extraction in such a short period of time. But when you skip the dentist for years, that decay can grow and infect a tooth to a point that there is no option other than tooth removal.
How Can I Prevent Tooth Extraction?
Good oral habits is the key to preventing any oral issue. On a daily basis you need to floss and brush your teeth twice. Throughout life you should avoid foods that are highly acidic, sweet, and definitely avoid tobacco products that can cause erosion of your teeth. Most importantly, do not skip the dentist. Even if you have never had a cavity in the past, you don’t notice anything wrong in the present, and you are a great brusher and flosser, nothing replaces the dentist. Dentists provide treatments that protect your teeth long-term, cleanings that can remove plaque that you can’t, and exams that find early warning signs when they are still small issues.
How Can I Replace An Adult Tooth?
If an adult tooth is knocked out due to an injury or extracted because of decay and other concerns, there are a couple of options of how to replace the tooth. Dental bridges are often chosen and covered by insurance. A dental bridge works by anchoring a false tooth to the teeth on either side of the cap. A dental crown is used to hold the bridge in place. This is a great way to replace a tooth or a row of adjacent teeth but there can be some issues. Bridges tend to last less long than implants, and bridges can also increase the risks of damage to the surrounding teeth. Fillings, bridges, and other dental treatments can make teeth more susceptible to decay. At the intersection point of the natural tooth and the bridge or filling, there is now a space for bacteria to grow.
Implants on the other hand are often chosen because they fully mimic the way our teeth naturally sit in our mouths. Not every dentist provides implants because it is a surgical procedure. Additionally, some insurances don’t provide any coverage for implants because dental bridges tend to be less expensive and can provide an adequate replacement for a lost tooth or teeth. Another benefit of implants is they can handle situations where missing teeth aren’t adjacent to one another.
Dentures vs. All-On-4 Implants
Another thing to consider is a full replacement of all of your adult teeth. When we are younger we might simply need to look at a single tooth and solve it with an implant or a bridge, but as we age it becomes more and more likely that a large portion of our adult teeth will fall out. Some solutions for this is to replace all of the teeth with dentures or with All-On-4 implants. All-On-4 implants are becoming more and more popular for older patients. Instead of removable dentures, All-On-4 implants are not-removable and fully replace all of your top or bottom teeth with just four implant posts.
Restorative Dentistry and Dental Implants in Southern Maine
If you live in the southern Maine area and need implants, dentures, bridges, crowns, or any other dental service that we provide, we would be happy to discuss setting up an appointment for you. Give us a call or click below for more information.