If you have a tooth that has suffered a lot of damage or decay, you may be wondering how (or if) it can be repaired. While some teeth are beyond repair, others can be fixed with relative ease. Below is more information about whether or not your tooth can be saved, and what options may be available.
Can My Tooth Be Saved?
Your dentist will do everything they can to save as much of your natural tooth as possible. For dentists, extraction is a last resort. It’s only when the tooth cannot be repaired that it will be pulled. With that said, you may be wondering if your tooth is repairable, or if extraction is the only option. It really depends on the type of damage or decay, and how severe it is.
You may have recently fallen down, bitten something too hard, or had some other sort of accident that has led to your tooth being damaged. If this is the case, the amount of damage will need to be considered. Many times, the damage is relatively easy to repair. This is especially the case for minor cracks and chips. If the damage is more severe, though, extraction may need to be considered.
In general, tooth decay can easily be treated. If you go to the dentist for your regular checkup and your dentist notices you have a cavity, they will set an appointment to remove the decay, clean the tooth, and place a filling. If the decay is worse, you may need a root canal procedure to address the infection. Once decay has gotten beyond that phase, though, an extraction may be the only option available to save the health of your jawbone.
Tooth Repair Options
There are a few main tooth repair options that your dentist will consider if they decide your tooth is able to be saved. Below are the options that may be available:
Dental bonding is the least intensive option and is a great choice for repairing minor forms of damage. Dental bonding can be used to repair minor cracks, chips, and discoloration. The process involves your dentist cleaning off the tooth, then roughening up the enamel so they can apply a resin with an adhesive. The resin is trimmed to better fit, and a high-intensity light is used to harden the resin. Dental bonding is a temporary solution and won’t last forever. You can expect it to last around eight years or so, especially if you take proper care of the tooth with the dental bonding.
A veneer is a prosthetic that is used to replace a portion of the crown of a tooth. Porcelain veneers can look very similar to natural teeth. While they are wafer-thin, they are also very durable. Because of this, they can last a long time. A veneer is a great repair option when the tooth of the patient is too damaged for dental bonding, but not damaged enough to require an entire dental crown replacement. Veneers are a great middle ground.
The process of having a veneer placed involves your dentist creating an impression and sending it to a lab to have the prosthetic created. Once the prosthetic is ready, they will roughen up the tooth to help the veneer to better adhere to the cement used to hold it in place. After a few bite evaluations, you’ll be good to go! With that said, your dentist will want to see you for a follow-up to make sure your gums have reacted well to the veneer and to make sure the veneer is sitting properly.
A dental crown is a replacement option that involves replacing the entire crown of the tooth of a patient. This is the most intensive repair option and is the last resort before tooth replacement. A dental crown is reserved for patients that have severe damage to the tooth due to injury or decay.
The placement of a dental crown involves your dentist taking an impression and sending it to a lab for the prosthetic to be fabricated. From there, your dentist will shape the tooth so the crown will fit. This means removing a significant portion of the tooth. They will then install the crown. While a dental crown isn’t a permanent replacement, it often lasts around 15 years. Sometimes a dental crown can last as long as 25-30 years, though!
Tooth Replacement Options
Sadly, a tooth can’t always be saved. If this is the case, a tooth replacement option will need to be considered. There are three main tooth replacement options your dentist may consider. These include:
Dentures are prosthetics that aren’t installed and instead sit in the area where the tooth or teeth are missing. While dentures are often used to replace multiple teeth, there are also single dentures. Dentures are often the most affordable option, but they also provide the least amount of bite support and strength.
Dental implants are the strongest replacement option and are built to last. While the dental crown that sits on the dental implant won’t last forever, the implant itself can last a lifetime. Dental implants are more expensive, but they also offer a stronger bite and often a more natural appearance.
A dental bridge involves a tooth or multiple teeth being shaped so a prosthetic can fill the gap. This means you’ll get a crown or crowns on the healthy tooth or teeth, and there will be a full prosthetic filling the gap. This option provides a good amount of stability, but also requires surrounding teeth to be irreparably shaped to support the bridge.
Reach out to 24/7 Dental Today!
If you have a damaged or decayed tooth, reach out to 24/7 Dental as soon as possible. Don’t wait for your regular cleaning and checkup! We’ll take a look at the damaged tooth and let you know if the tooth can be saved. From there, we’ll discuss the repair or replacement options that are available to you.