Has your dentist told you that you need a tooth or teeth extraction? Hopefully, he also shared that there are many alternatives that will let you save your teeth.
Extraction is a permanent treatment, and you can never get your original tooth back. It can seem like a good idea due to saved cost and time, but you might pay for it in the long run.
Proper dental hygiene
Brush your teeth at least twice daily
This is the most important first step to make sure your teeth are protected and stay in your mouth for years to come.
Use a soft-bristled toothbrush, and brush your teeth with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Brush your tongue as well, to help clean away bacteria. Brush your teeth before meals, not after. If you brush your teeth after a meal, there is often acidic residue left over from the food, and brushing will soften your tooth enamel.
Use fluoride toothpaste
Fluoride helps create a molecular scaffold for your tooth enamel to build around. This means that fluoride acts as something for your enamel to "hold on to" so it can rebuild the outer layer of your teeth. Keep in mind that your teeth and bones are constantly building and rebuilding every day.
Floss every time you brush your teeth
Flossing is just as important as brushing, even if it is uncomfortable. With time, flossing will become more comfortable, and if you bleed, it will eventually stop.
See your dentist regularly
This means visiting your dentist at least once, maybe twice a year. Your dentist is well equipped for diagnosis and treating everything related to your oral hygiene.
Dental procedures for saving your teeth
If you have fallen behind on your oral hygiene practices, you still have a few options. There may be some backtracking (a.k.a. repairs) that your dentist needs to perform, but you do still have options.
These types of dentures are removable and allow you to keep part of your original tooth. The dentist will usually make an appointment where they create a mold of the teeth needing partial dentures.
Root canal, or a "filling," is when the dentist uses a drill to form a canal to the root of your tooth. They then use tools to clean out the damaged or infected tissue within the canal. This is then filled in with synthetic material. A root canal is often less painful and requires less medication after the procedure. This means you can get back to your normal life without the use of sedating pain medication.
The extraction option
It might be tempting to choose extraction because it is often much cheaper than the alternative. While this might be preferable for some people, if you can avoid it, you should. Extractions are permanent, and getting a replacement that looks and feels like a natural tooth will be difficult or far more expensive than saving the tooth in the first place.
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