By Dr. Michael Sherman

Many patients with broken-down teeth or large infections are presented with the option of keeping their natural tooth or extraction.

There are many factors that patients must weigh in order to come up with a decision which can make this a difficult process. Although each clinical scenario is different and each patient’s motivation unique, hopefully the recommendations below can help with the decision making process.

How much tooth is left?

The more tooth the better. After a root canal is performed a crown will need to be placed on the tooth (if a crown is not already present). The more tooth structure above the gingival margin (gum line), the more your dentist has to work with for the new restoration.

Where is the tooth located?

In many cases, pulling a tooth in an area of the mouth that is highly visible, may lead to a different aesthetic appearance once the tooth is removed. Even if a limited amount of tooth structure is present, often adjunctive procedures can be performed to help retain the teeth that are most important to your smile.

Is the tooth in function?

In other words, does the tooth in question chew against another tooth? If not, the tooth may not be worth the investment. If the tooth is removed there is no risk of an opposing tooth changing position. However, if the tooth in question serves as an anchor for a bridge or a partial, that tooth becomes more important to your overall dental health.

How motivated are you?

Saving a tooth involves the root canal and many times a new crown or filling in the existing restoration. We want our patients to value their natural teeth and the procedures that are necessary to preserve the dentition.

What are the options for replacement?

In the last 10 years, there have been many new advancements in implant dentistry and the ceramics utilized for fabricating a bridge. Our ultimate goal as dentists is to retain your natural teeth, however if there was a circumstance where your natural tooth must be lost, an implant or bridge are both great options for replacement.

If you are in need of endodontic treatment, please contact us today.