Q: I had a tooth pulled, but when I went to a new dentist who looked at the previous X-ray, he asked me why I had it pulled and thought it could be saved which angered me. Why would this have happened?
A: Beware the doctor who just loves to play Monday morning quarterback and make judgment on another doctor’s work. This situation is in the top ten list of reasons why patients change dental offices, ie. A tooth was yanked that “could” have been saved.
Although some teeth can be saved, would you be upset if the tooth only lasted two years resulting in having to pull it anyway? Now you have paid twice for the same problem and you still are without a tooth! This is why teeth with a poor long-term prognosis, should be removed followed by a definitive, long-lasting solution such as replacement with a dental implant.
When should you pull a tooth? When decay or fracture has left less than five millimeters of tooth protruding above the gum line, 360 degrees around the tooth. Or, if the root shows signs of fracture and/or you have pain to chewing on a tooth that has previously had a root canal. Teeth with 30 to 50% bone loss from periodontal disease should always be considered for removal, especially if you are considering investing in crowns, veneers or bridges to be supported by them.
If you are unsure about having a tooth pulled, seek a second opinion.
Dr. Mitchell Josephs practices Implant, Cosmetic and General Dentistry with an emphasis on implants, porcelain veneers, and complex crown and bridge treatment. He is on staff at JFK Medical Center and is a Faculty Advisory Board member at McGill University’s Faculty of Dentistry. He completed his residency at Manhattan’s Beth Israel Medical Center and Mt. Sinai Hospital.