Would pulling a tooth and covering it be better than a root canal?

I had a friend who had a snap-in set of teeth to cover a bad tooth in the front. I’m wondering if there is something similar for a tooth in the back. I keep struggling with a tooth on the bottom of my mouth. I have had cavities and fillings, and now my dentist says I either have to have a root canal on it or an implant. I’m thinking it might be easier just to pull the thing and cover it up. What do you think?

Althea, Mississippi

Dear Althea,

While it is frustrating to keep having work done on the same tooth, a snap-on smile is not the answer. Snap-on smiles are meant for temporary tooth fixes. Because they are meant to be temporary, they aren’t very durable or strong, especially not in the place of a molar that takes the brunt of the work chewing your foods. They are not particularly cheap, either.

Also, there are complications that can arise from extracting the tooth. Anytime a tooth is pulled, the body naturally thinks the bone in that area isn’t needed anymore. The minerals in the bone will eventually be reabsorbed into the body, leaving that spot prone to deformation. It may also affect the teeth around that spot as it leaves room for them to shift, changing your bite.

Your dentist may have suggested a dental implant for that tooth if you mentioned extracting it. If you put an implant in, it will slow down or stop the bone loss because the base of the implant is in the bone and lets the body know it is still needed.

Really root canal is probably your best bet as it is the simplest option. It can take care of the needs of your tooth and most likely be the most cost-effective. Typically a tooth that gets a root canal also gets a crown. This is a strong covering that will allow you to still chew like you are used to without fear of it breaking.

If you want other options, depending on the location of the tooth, a partial denture or a bridge may work. Speak to your dentist about your options when you have your next appointment.

This post is sponsored by Dr. Ryan Perry of Baton Rouge, LA.




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