When you have teeth that are damaged it can be difficult to decide on the best course of treatment. In some situations, it is worth getting extensive dental work completed in order to save a tooth or multiple teeth. In other situations, it may not be possible to save the damaged teeth. In order to determine if your teeth are too far gone to be saved you need to look at how many of your teeth are impacted by the damage, consider the type and scope of the damage, and talk through the options with your dentist.
How many teeth are impacted by the damage?
The number of teeth that are impacted by the damage will determine your course of action. If it is only one or two teeth the repair process may be relatively quick and simple. If most or all of your teeth are impacted the repair process will be much more difficult. If certain teeth are worse off than others it may mean that some of them are too far gone and some of them can be saved. Keep in mind that certain types of damage are only visible with the help of imaging or a trained eye. When you go to the dentist you may find that there is more damage below the surface that impacts the treatment options.
The type and scope of the damage to your teeth
The type of damage that you have will also be a factor in determining if your teeth can be saved. Tooth decay starts out small and can be treated on a surface level. Over time, however, decay can spread throughout the tooth and will eventually compromise the entire structure. Gum disease is another issue that starts out being very treatable but can end up causing irreversible damage. Injury can also impact multiple teeth. For example, if you have a bad fall you can injure several teeth at once. Some injuries only impact the surface of the tooth while others have the ability to cause tooth death.
Talk through the options with your dentist
You do not have decide on your own if your teeth are too far gone to be saved. You will work closely with your dentist and discuss various treatment options. Ultimately, your dentist will recommend the option that is the best for your oral health now and in the future. If you do end up losing one or more teeth there are a number of tooth replacement options to choose from. Dental implants, bridges, and dentures are all options for replacing teeth and providing function.
Now is always the best time to start addressing any concerns you have with your teeth. Decay, gum disease, and injury to your teeth will not get better on their own. In fact, most oral problems are progressive and will continue to get worse without intervention. If you have any concerns about the condition of your teeth get help right away to maximize your chances of saving them.
Julie C Berger, DDS, MA, FACP is a local Gettysburg dentist and a board certified prosthodontist specialist. She is a former full time instructor at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry.