When is the Right Time to Save a Tooth?

Dentists always strive to save a tooth whenever possible, but there are situations where the damage is too severe and removal becomes necessary to maintain your oral health.

If you notice any issues with your teeth, it’s crucial to see a dentist as soon as you can. They will examine your teeth and gums and discuss potential treatments to restore your smile and bite. However, if a tooth is extensively damaged, your dentist might not be able to save it. In such cases, tooth removal is typically recommended.

Reasons for Tooth Removal

Dentists may recommend tooth removal in the following circumstances:

  • Dental injuries resulting in cracked or fractured teeth or roots
  • Severe tooth decay
  • Gum disease
  • Severe or recurring infections
  • Wisdom tooth problems
  • As part of a comprehensive treatment plan

Dental Injuries

When Is It Too Late to Save a Tooth-injuries

Teeth can be cracked, fractured, or knocked out due to various reasons such as sporting injuries, falls, motor vehicle accidents, or fights. A damaged or broken tooth is considered a dental emergency, and it’s crucial to seek advice and schedule an appointment with your dentist immediately. While dentists can usually repair a chipped or cracked tooth through bonding or the placement of a crown, a severely damaged tooth might require removal to prevent further complications. To minimize the risk of dental injuries, wearing a custom-fitted sports mouthguard provided by your dentist is recommended.

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Severe Tooth Decay

When Is It Too Late to Save a Tooth-severe-infection

Tooth decay is the most common dental problem in Australia. It occurs when bacteria accumulate on the teeth, forming a sticky layer of plaque that releases acids, leading to surface wear. If detected early, most cavities can be treated with fillings. However, more severe decay might require a larger restoration like a crown or root canal therapy, or even tooth removal. Maintaining a good daily oral hygiene routine and regular dental visits can help prevent tooth decay, as routine check-ups enhance the chances of detecting tooth decay early, when it’s easier to treat.

Gum Disease

When Is It Too Late to Save a Tooth-gum-disease

Gum disease, caused by bacterial plaque buildup on teeth and beneath the gum line, can be reversed in its early stages by proper brushing and flossing. However, if left untreated, gum disease can progress, leading to weakened gum tissue, tooth loosening, and deterioration of the jaw bone. Early detection of gum disease allows for periodontal treatment to manage the condition. However, if gum disease is left untreated and severely weakens adjacent teeth, removal of the affected teeth may be necessary.

Severe or Recurring Tooth Infection

When Is It Too Late to Save a Tooth-infection-root-canal

When tooth decay or other damage reaches the center of a tooth, it can lead to infection in the soft tissues of the pulp. An infected tooth can be extremely painful and may cause serious complications if left untreated. Dentists can usually clean and remove the infected tooth pulp through root canal therapy to save the tooth. Root canal therapy is now as painless as having a filling and typically takes about an hour to complete. It involves placing a crown to protect and strengthen the treated tooth. However, if the infected tooth cannot be saved or if the infection recurs, removal may be necessary.

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Wisdom Tooth Problems

When Is It Too Late to Save a Tooth-wisdom-tooth-problems

Wisdom teeth, the last teeth to erupt in late teenage years or early adulthood, are more prone to developing problems. Impacted or improperly angled wisdom teeth can cause pain, infections, and alignment issues with other teeth. Dentists typically recommend wisdom tooth removal to address such complications. Treatment may involve making a small incision to encourage natural eruption or using antibiotics to clear an infection.

If you suspect that your wisdom teeth need attention, check out our 3-minute blog post, “7 Signs Your Wisdom Teeth Need To Come Out”, to learn more.

Why Replacing a Tooth is Important

While tooth removal may alleviate acute pain and complications, leaving a gap in your teeth can lead to problems over time, impacting not just your appearance but also your oral health. After tooth removal, adjacent teeth may shift, causing misalignment, which makes cleaning between teeth challenging and increases the risk of decay and other issues. Multiple missing teeth can affect chewing, speech, and may result in problems like tooth grinding or TMJ disorders. Dentists typically recommend replacing a tooth once your mouth has healed post-extraction. They will discuss suitable options based on the number of teeth to replace, your preferences, and your budget.

The most common tooth replacement solutions are:

Dental Implants

When Is It Too Late to Save a Tooth-replace-with-implants

Dental implants provide stability and longevity. They involve the surgical placement of implants in the jaw, which are then connected to a crown, fixed bridge, or removable denture. Dental implants can replace one or several teeth. At Kelmscott Dental, Perth Dental Implant Centre offers implant treatments by experienced implant dentist Dr. David Norcross, using the latest techniques in implant dentistry.

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Dental Bridges

When Is It Too Late to Save a Tooth-replace-with-bridge

Dental bridges are prosthetic teeth used to fill in the gap between natural teeth. They can be supported by crowns or clasps attached to neighboring teeth. Kelmscott Dental designs bridges in collaboration with a local dental laboratory.


When Is It Too Late to Save a Tooth-dentures

Full or partial dentures are a more affordable option for replacing one or more teeth. Removable dentures may be attached using suction or clasps and require regular cleaning and overnight removal. Kelmscott Dental offers dentures designed by experienced prosthetist Donagh McDonagh, ensuring comfort and a natural appearance.

Talk to a Dentist in Kelmscott

If you suspect a problem with your tooth, seeking prompt dental attention improves your chances of a full recovery. Schedule an appointment with our local dentists at Kelmscott Dental by calling (08) 9495 7999 or booking online. We also welcome patients from Armadale, Gosnells, and nearby suburbs.

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