woman shrugging her shoulders, not knowing what to choose“You need an extraction.” Those are words that no patient wants to hear. In fact, even though Dr. Chris Tye specializes in removing teeth, he prefers to save teeth whenever possible. In some cases, however, it is simply not feasible. Whether due to decay, dental damage, or a fracture, sometimes removing a tooth is necessary. Today, we will discuss whether patients should replace missing teeth after their Southlake dental extractions. In many instances, dental implants are the ideal solution for completing your smile. But when is it necessary? Read on to find out.

Ask Yourself: Which Tooth Needs to be Extracted?

When determining whether or not dental implant treatment should be pursued, the first thing to consider is the tooth that will be removed. In other words, can you do without it? In dentistry, we never replace wisdom teeth, as they are not necessary for a functional bite. In many cases, they actually impede oral health. However, approximately 95 percent of your chewing takes place from the first molars, forward. Therefore, each and every tooth in your mouth is an important element in the way your teeth fit together. When one is lost, it can cause the adjacent teeth to shift, resulting in an array of new problems. Of course, every patient is unique. Therefore, the only way to know for sure if tooth replacement is necessary is to see Dr. Tye for a consultation.

Single Tooth Replacement Options

If Dr. Tye recommends replacing your tooth after your dental extraction, then we can begin exploring your options with you. These may include a:

  • Removable partial: This prosthesis is similar to a retainer worn by patients following orthodontic treatment. However, rather than a wire, there is an artificial tooth attached to close the gap in your smile. This option is not an ideal long-term option and is mostly used in the interim period before placing a dental implant.
  • Dental bridge: This option is common for single tooth replacement. A dental bridge is a custom restoration carved from a single block of ceramic porcelain, zirconia, or other high-quality dental material. There are two dental crowns on either side, and an artificial tooth in the middle. In order to place a traditional dental bridge, the adjacent teeth must be slightly reduced to make room for your new restoration.
  • Dental implant: When replacing a single tooth, a dental implant is the most predictable long-term option. Because an implant mimics the natural teeth roots, it preserves the jawbone for optimal oral health. Additionally, there is no need to compromise the adjacent teeth, as is the case with a dental bridge.

Ridge Preservation at the Time of Extraction

Dental implants can last a lifetime with proper maintenance and care. For this reason, most of our patients choose this option for single tooth replacement. In order to make your implant treatment as smooth as possible, Dr. Tye will most likely recommend a bone grafting procedure at the time of your dental extraction. This will fill the socket and prevent the tissues from collapsing in. Because this ridge preservation procedure can be performed during the same surgical appointment, it does not make the procedure any more invasive or uncomfortable. Bone grafting simply prepares the site, creating a solid foundation for your future dental implant.

How Long Do I Have to Wait for a Dental Implant?

Generally speaking, an extraction site requires three to four months of healing time before a dental implant can be placed. Depending on the specific tooth and the patient’s healing capacity, this could take less time or more time. A few weeks after your dental extraction and bone graft is completed, x-rays will be taken to determine when your dental implant can be placed.

Learn More about Southlake Dental Implants

If you are missing a tooth or will soon have a dental extraction, an implant could be the optimal solution for you. To learn more about your treatment options, schedule a consultation with Dr. Tye at our Colleyville, TX oral surgery practice. Contact us online or call us at (817) 552-3223.