The Cosmetic Dentistry Blog

February 20, 2012

Does this tooth really have to be extracted?

Filed under: Extractions — Tags: , , , , — mesasmiles @ 4:49 pm

I had a crown when I was younger that fell off and left half of my tooth there, my dentist tells me I now have a tooth infection under it. There is a little white bubble under my tooth – he didn’t say what the name of the infection is but I’m kinda worried about it. My dentist says he just has to take out my tooth but from what it says on your website he’d have to do a root canal right?
- Maggie from Rhode Island

Maggy,
I think it would be worth it to seek a second opinion about this extraction and see if the tooth can’t be saved. Some dentists, unfortunately, are all too eager to extract teeth when it isn’t necessary.

It could be that your dentist is right, that the tooth has to be extracted. But your dentist should have explained why the tooth can’t be saved and why a root canal treatment and a crown wouldn’t work. If he didn’t, ask another dentist.

It could be that the tooth has decayed so much and there is so little left that there is no way to restore it. It could also be that with the crown of the tooth being missing for so long, the teeth on either side have drifted together so that there isn’t space enough to restore the tooth. But if your dentist didn’t explain this to you, I would get a second opinion to ask another dentist if he or she thinks the tooth can be restored.

Your question reminds me of a man who was president of the American Dental Association in the 1980s who was kind of a crusader for saving teeth, Dr. Burt Press. He often said that too many dentists are too eager to take teeth out. He had a funny way of putting it. When we were in dental school, we were given statistics about how many teeth are lost because of gum disease versus how many are lost because of tooth decay. He said he questioned those numbers. “You know why so many teeth are lost?” he asked. “Because dentists take them out.” But rescuing teeth is hard work, and sometimes you fail. Some dentists like to try to save them, because it’s a noble feeling to save a tooth. But some dentists don’t have that attitude and just take them out.

So my advice is to get a second opinion.

Dr. Hall

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About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.

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