A woman and her husband interrupted their vacation to go to the dentist.
“I want a tooth pulled, and I don’t want Novocain because I’m in a big hurry,” the woman said. “Just extract the tooth as quickly as possible, and we’ll be on our way.”
The dentist was quite impressed. “You’re certainly a courageous woman,” he said. “Which tooth is it?”
The woman turned to her husband and said, “Show him your tooth, dear.”
The decision to have a tooth removed should not be taken lightly. We often get requests, generally from patients who haven’t been to the dentist in a while and have problem teeth, to just remove all their teeth and give them dentures. This is a BAD idea. Generally speaking, even when you have damaged teeth, working to keep your natural teeth is a much better idea than dentures. Dentures slip. Dentures reduce your chewing efficiency. Dentures also lead to bone loss in your jaw. Believe us when we say you’ll have more problems than you bargained for.
Studies have shown that even dental implants, which is the closest tooth replacement to your natural teeth, aren’t as ideal as saving the teeth you already have. This study is three years old and there have been improvements on dental implants. But, even with those improvements, problems that arise are much more easily dealt with on natural teeth than with implants, which could require extra surgery.
We won’t go into the oft repeated lectures about the importance of good oral care and regular check-ups. You’ve heard it all before. But… you know… it is important so…yeah, brush twice a day, floss once, and see your dentist twice a year for check-ups. Sorry…couldn’t help myself.
In an ideal world, this would be enough. But, it’s not an ideal world. Accidents happen. Genetics happen. Both of those things can sabotage even the most diligent patient. So what do you do if efforts fail?
A Single Dental Implant
If you want something that is as close to getting your own natural teeth back as possible, then dental implants (pictured above) would be the ideal solution. Most dentists are aware, that not all patients can afford the ideal treatment. In those cases, a dental bridge might serve almost as well. In some cases, like when the adjacent teeth also need work, it might be a more logical solution.
The thing to remember is there are options for any budget. There are all types of solutions for missing teeth, including dentures and partial dentures. Even a dental flipper would do in a pinch while you worked out a more permanent solution.
But, before you jump to extraction, do everything to can to save the teeth you have.