3 Situations When Extractions Might Be The Better Option Than Fillings

In many situations, fillings seem like the better option when you have a cavity or significant tooth decay, but this is not always the best choice. There are situations when one or more extractions might be the better option.

Wisdom Teeth

Dentists rarely fill cavities for wisdom teeth. Many people have them removed because they frequently cause problems as early as the teenage years. During the teenage years, the wisdom teeth may try to erupt, but never fully erupt, causing unnecessary pain. Since wisdom teeth are difficult to clean and frequently develop cavities or extensive decay, it is better to have them extracted than try to fix them. Another concern with wisdom teeth is they can cause crowding in the mouth, forcing the other teeth to become crooked or leaving little space between other teeth, making flossing harder. Extractions for wisdom teeth are routinely done whether to fix or prevent problems they cause.

Severely Decayed Teeth

Severely decayed teeth can be a matter of prolonged bad oral hygiene, or in many instances, inadequate access to continuous dental care. Sometimes tooth decay is too extensive for the tooth to be salvaged with a filling alone and extraction is the better option. It is often expensive and time-consuming to fix many bad teeth. Your dentist may suggest having them extracted and opting for a partial or full implant promptly after extraction. Having the procedure done shortly after the extraction will help preserve the integrity of the underlying bone. This means the bone is more likely to support the abutment for the implant without the need for bone grafting.

Underlying Chronic Diseases

Less commonly, underlying chronic diseases and their treatments may affect the teeth causing widespread decay and weakening of the teeth, despite the best oral and dental care. Chronic diseases can decrease the production of saliva. Even with specialty mouthwashes to supplement and encourage the production of saliva, this may not be enough to halt the damage. Having a chronic dry mouth allows bacteria to proliferate and damage the teeth. Additionally, there can be frequent enamel weakening and lost enamel, or demineralization of teeth, which makes them prone to decay or they may break easily. In some instances, it may be easier to have extractions and wear dentures than it is to try and salvage teeth that may ultimately be unsalvageable.

In some instances, having a tooth filled can be the right choice because preserving the tooth might be important. There are also situations where extractions are easier and less expensive because preserving the teeth is unnecessary or futile.

If you need a tooth extraction, contact a local dentist or dental surgeon.