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Pull Your Tooth or Save It? Which is Best?

Tooth extraction

An infected or damaged tooth isn’t just extremely painful; it’s also a health risk. When the tooth is infected or damaged beyond repair, it’s often safer to remove it. However, tooth extraction is typically considered a last resort after options like a root canal fail to be effective.

If you’re experiencing dental problems, you likely want to pick the best option to eliminate your discomfort and pain. Explore whether to pull or save your tooth with Caputo Dental.

When to Pull Your Tooth

There are significant drawbacks to pulling a tooth, making it the last resort for most dentists. Removing a tooth can accelerate bone resorption, a process where your body breaks down what it believes is unnecessary bone in your jaw.

While a dental bridge or dentures can replace a pulled tooth, they don’t always slow down bone resorption and may need periodic refitting as the bone wears down. They also aren’t as robust as your natural teeth and sometimes can’t be placed immediately after extraction, leaving you with a gap in your smile for several months.

However, there are some situations where saving your tooth would put your dental health and overall physical health at risk. Your dentist is most likely to recommend a tooth extraction if your tooth is:

  • Severely decayed or infected
  • Seriously broken or injured below the gum line
  • Has a vertical root fracture
  • Impacted (trapped in the gum or bone)
  • Causing overcrowding
  • Causing advanced periodontitis

Tooth extraction requires a lengthy healing process, especially if the tooth needs to be removed surgically, and comes with the risk of complications like dry socket or infection.

When to Save Your Tooth

If your tooth is damaged, but enough of the tooth structure is healthy, your dentist can save your tooth. It will need treatment, but since your natural teeth are sturdier than options like a bridge or dentures, most dentists will opt to save your tooth over extracting it where possible.

To save your tooth, your dentist will likely perform a root canal to remove infected tissue from inside the pulp chamber and seal the empty space with gutta-percha and a temporary filling.

Once the infection is gone, the affected tooth will receive a dental crown to reduce the risk of breakage or further damage. In most cases, you must wait about a week for the permanent filling or crown to be fitted, while other times, it can be done the same day as the root canal.

What to Do if You Think You Need a Tooth Pulled

If you think you might need a tooth pulled, make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible and tell them your symptoms. They can take X-rays to look for signs of decay or damage below the gum, examine your teeth and gums for signs of a problem, and determine whether your tooth can be saved.

Schedule Your Appointment Today

Keeping on top of your dental health makes it less likely that you’ll need a tooth extraction later. Caputo Dental is dedicated to providing quality dental care, whether you need a tooth extraction or routine cleaning. Call (630) 922-1311 to schedule an appointment.

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