Save a Tooth or Get an Implant? – Smart Smile Dentistry

In the realm of oral hygiene, there are certain things that qualify as good, such as brushing, flossing and regular dental checkups. Then, of course, there are other aspects that are clearly bad, such as high sugar diets, periodontal disease and tooth loss. When it comes to replacing teeth, however, some issues aren’t so black and white.

Your teeth may experience extreme temperature variances from scalding hot coffee to freezing cold ice cubes. They are constantly surrounded by harmful bacteria and withstand forceful impact ranging from 120 to 150 pounds per square inch. Despite all of this, they are expected to last a lifetime.

Utilizing innovative treatment options, decayed or missing teeth can easily be replaced with natural looking implants that can maintain the integrity of your jawbone. But the question remains, should a tooth be saved or replaced?

Factors to Consider

Tooth decay is a gradual process that is not always obvious since painful symptoms do not arise until it has progressed to harmful levels. Conversely, trauma from sports injuries, accidents or bad habits, including clenching and grinding, occurs rapidly and demands immediate attention.

In either case, both the structure and function of the tooth is compromised leaving the nerve exposed or infected. A dental implant solves the problem quickly and effective by simply replacing the damaged tooth or teeth. Implants can be permanent or removable.

Root canal therapy (RCT) is another equally viable option for saving the tooth. It boasts just as high a success rate as getting an implant. However, a tooth that has undergone RCT is not immune from future issues. Recurrent decay and loss of bone structure are very real possibilities.

Not So Simple

When deciding whether or not to keep a tooth, the decision ultimately depends on a host of factors. For example, a dentist will first determine the underlying cause of the problem. The overall strength of the root as well as the tooth must be considered. Oral health and general health play a key role in the decision to save or remove a tooth as well.

While periodontal therapies, such as RCT, allow you to keep your natural teeth, dental implants are becoming increasingly popular for a variety of reasons.

  • Predictable outcomes
  • Long lasting
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Permanent or removable options
  • Can replace single or multiple teeth
  • Maintain the structural integrity of the jawbone
  • Immune to tooth decay

In some cases, preserving your own teeth is the preferred route. In other situations, an implant will have far greater value. Ultimately, this decision can only be made by you and your dentist.

If you would like to schedule a consultation for dental implants at our Gainesville practice, please contact us today!


Smart Smile Dentistry | 4404 NW 36 Ave | Gainesville, FL 32606 | (352) 376-5120 – Map