Sometimes teeth sustain enough damage that they require extraction. Cavities that are too large, fractures that are too deep or bone that is too weak to hold a tooth in place are all reasons a tooth might need to be removed. Extractions are a relatively straight-forward procedure. After you are good and numb we use special instruments to gently lift and remove the tooth from its socket.
After a tooth is removed it is important to have a plan for replacement. Tooth replacement can be done in one of three ways. Each way has its advantages.
1.) Removable Partial Dentures: RPDs are the most inexpensive way to replace a tooth or teeth. They have resin, flexible or metal bases and are not fixed in place. They utilize clasps and rests to be retained in the mouth and can be removed for cleaning and at night. Tooth color and shape can be matched closely to your natural teeth in order to make them both functional and esthetic.
2.) Bridges: Bridges require preparation of the teeth next to the space where the tooth or teeth were extracted so that they can have crowns placed over them. These adjacent teeth are called the abutments. The pontic or bridge portion of the bridge is the teeth that span the gap where the teeth were extracted and are attached to the abutments. These restorations are fixed in your mouth and cannot be removed. They require meticulous oral hygiene to prevent further decay and breakdown around the bridge.
3.) Implants: Implants act, look and feel very similar to natural teeth and are quickly becoming the standard of care for replacement of missing teeth. They are made of titanium and when placed well are 96-99% successful... one of the most successful treatments we can do in dentistry! They don’t get decay and if properly cleaned and maintained can last a lifetime. You can floss and brush them like normal teeth. They are a great way to replace a missing tooth and are consistently rated as one of the best treatments dentists can offer their patients.
There is always the option to replace a missing tooth however, this decision does not come without significant risks. Teeth next to extraction sites can shift causing spacing issues. When teeth shift the option to replace a missing tooth can be compromised requiring extensive treatment to fix. Joint disorders can become a problem due to a non-balanced bite. Chewing efficiency can also be compromised when teeth are missing causing unnecessary stress on remaining teeth. Bone also resorbs when a tooth is extracted. This can also compromise adjacent teeth and future treatment. Please speak to your dentist about risks and benefits of all treatment including the decision to not treat.
Removable Partial Dentures (RPD)
Fixed Bridge (FPD)