Extractions may be necessary due to several factors. Decay can be so extensive as to cause the tooth to be non-restorable. Similarly, a fractured tooth sometimes cannot be saved depending on the extent and location of the fracture (at/below bone level). Occasionally a tooth or multiple teeth may need to be removed for orthodontic reasons (extreme crowding).
There are factors to consider with regard to replacing a missing tooth. If a tooth is not replaced, other teeth may slowly shift, drift, or tilt into that open space. This can impact your occlusion (bite) as well as lead to potential difficulty replacing the tooth years down the road.
When a tooth is extracted it is often desirable to attempt to retain as much bone in the area as possible. If the tooth is removed with no consideration for this, then a significant amount of bone will be lost as healing occurs, making it more difficult over time to achieve optimum restorative results. Bone graft material can be added into the site of the extraction after the tooth is removed which will help to rebuild bone as the area heals. This is known as “socket preservation”.
Options for replacing a missing tooth or teeth include implants, bridgework, or (removable) partial dentures. There are advantages and disadvantages to each – we can discuss this in more detail with you in our office.