When it comes to your teeth, is going au natural the right choice? Many of our patients who experience problems with their teeth wonder about whether it’s better to keep all of your natural teeth or simply extract them.
The simple answer is that while there are instances where removing a tooth instead of treating it is the simpler option, 90% of the time we recommend saving your natural teeth.
Why is it important to keep a full set of teeth?
There are actually a few reasons:
- Avoiding teeth extraction helps prevent adjacent and opposing teeth from moving or being otherwise negatively impacted.
- When it comes to chewing, we want to make sure that your chewing forces are spread out over as many teeth as possible.
- Last, but most definitely not least, we want you to keep a beautiful, full smile!
The chewing problem
Teeth are designed to work their best when they’re in the correct position. When you have all of your teeth, each tooth is locked into its position by its neighbouring tooth. When you chew, your teeth chew against the food and, if there is a gap next to it, will actually start to drift into the empty space. A tooth that begins to tilt can affect your bite and your chewing could begin impacting the side of the tooth.
Take a minute to think about how many times a day you chew! It’s no wonder why we often see cracks on tilted teeth.
The food trap
When an opposing tooth begins to move and grow into the space left by the extracted teeth, food can get caught in the gap and cause plaque to become trapped around it. This build-up of plaque can cause tooth decay and can be quite difficult to treat.
Overworking your teeth
Whenever a tooth is extracted, the other teeth in your mouth will start having to do more work to compensate for the missing tooth. One extracted tooth might not seem like a big deal, but what often happens is that with even a single tooth missing, you’ll begin favouring the other side of the mouth because chewing against your gums is uncomfortable.
All of a sudden your one side of the mouth is doing twice the amount of work they’re designed to do! This can result in teeth becoming worn or cracked.
One small tooth, multiple big problems
So, all of a sudden, the lack of one, single tooth can cause one side of the mouth to become tilted and cracked, and the other side to become overly worn and—you guessed it—cracked! While this doesn’t happen immediately, we do tend to see these negative effects from tooth extractions.
Is it ever a good idea to extract a tooth?
Of course there are exceptions! For many people some teeth should be removed – like wisdom teeth. Also, some people need certain teeth removed prior to orthodontic treatment to ensure there is enough space for correct realignment.
There are other cases when extracting a tooth and replacing it is preferable to saving the tooth. It may be badly broken, difficult to treat or be necessary to remove in order to provide necessary attention to several other teeth. It could be a necessary sacrifice so that time, effort and money can be focused on saving many other teeth.
How is tooth extraction done?
If a tooth does have to be removed, we’ll look at replacing it with a dental implant. This way we won’t be relying on adjacent teeth. Dental implants involve two phases:
- The surgical placement of the implant itself.
- The placing of a crown onto the implant.
Often these phases will be carried out three months apart. The first phase will be done by a specialist or general dentist (depending on the case), and your general dentist will carry out the second phase.
So remember: it’s a good idea to save you teeth whenever and wherever possible. But, if a tooth does need to be extracted, we’ve got your back!