When a tooth is unhealthy or damaged, patients and their dentists can face some tough decisions. The most pressing matter is usually whether it is a better idea to try to save the tooth or to pull it out and replace it.
The answer to this dilemma can change based on the specific details of the situation. However, Dr. Ashwini Bhave and her fellow leading dentists agree that, when possible, it is preferable to leave the natural tooth intact. In this blog, she shares the reasoning behind this guiding principle.
Why You Should Try to Save a Natural Tooth
Although dental prosthetics are stronger and more durable than ever before, they do not surpass the power of natural teeth. They do not look, feel, or function at the level of a genuine tooth.
Having your natural tooth helps to better maintain the structure of the jaw so that the face does not lose its shape and you can continue chewing at full strength. Moreover, natural teeth contain nerves that communicate with the brain. That cannot be replicated with any dental procedure.
How Root Canal Can Preserve Your Tooth
When a cavity forms in a tooth, this is often easily remedied with a filling. Unfortunately, an untreated cavity can cause decay to spread and infect the pulp at the center of the tooth. In these cases, the best treatment is root canal, a treatment that removes the infected pulp and fills the center of the tooth so that it can survive indefinitely. Because the tooth is usually weaker following a root canal, Dr. Bhave often puts a crown atop the tooth to improve its functionality.
Tooth Replacement Options
While patients can count on Dr. Bhave to preserve their damaged or infected tooth whenever possible, there are situations when saving the natural tooth is not feasible.
A dental implant is arguably the best option, because it surgically attaches a post to the jawbone that holds a prosthetic tooth. Not only does a dental implant look real, it also stimulates some of the effects of tooth roots to help prevent the jawbone from eroding.
A dental bridge is another good option. This is a device that attaches to the nearby natural teeth and fills in the gaps left by missing teeth.
If the patient has many missing teeth, dentures may be the most practical and cost-efficient option for restoring a full smile. Implant supported dentures can help to secure prosthetics in the mouth. Partial dentures can fit around the natural teeth so that healthy teeth do not need to be extracted.
Meet a World-Class Restorative Dentist
To increase your chances of preserving a natural tooth, seek the care of a talented, knowledgeable dentist like Dr. Bhave. To meet with her to discuss your dental concerns, please schedule an appointment at Bay Area Dental Specialists by calling (408) 809-7760 today.