Unfortunately, there are times when tooth damage is too extensive for a tooth to be saved. And although having a tooth out is rarely the first treatment option, there is only so much a filling or crown can do to restore and retain an existing tooth. When there is trauma, extensive decay or oral disease, the only solution may be to have the tooth extracted. Also, sometimes a tooth extraction is done for preventative reasons e.g., overcrowding or to prevent future decline in oral or physical health.
The single most important factor in retaining your teeth is to care well for them. Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, but it is not immune to being weakened by decay or damage. Once a tooth is decayed and filled, it is never as strong as it once was. Which is why maintaining the integrity of a ‘whole’ tooth is so important.
Some people are more prone to gum disease, which left untreated, can lead to gum damage and affect the bones which hold teeth in place. The acidity of saliva, genetics, hormonal influence and medications may all increase susceptibility to gum inflammation. Healthy gums are firm and pink. Bleeding gums are a warning sign to see your dentist and floss more regularly.
Extensive cracks, fractures or dental trauma can also result in a tooth needing to be extracted. Sometimes it’s impossible to prevent accidents from happening, though a few things can help to lower the risk. Always wear a mouthguard when playing sports, even during practice sessions. Never use your teeth as ‘tools’ to open containers or packets, only use your teeth to smile and chew. If you become aware of clenching or grinding, it is important to visit your dentist to prevent cracks from forming, especially in teeth with existing fillings.
Prevention is the key to reducing the likelihood of needing a tooth extraction. Book an appointment with your dentist to talk about ways to reduce your individual risk.