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Tooth problems are never fun, especially if you let them progress to the point where extraction is the next necessary step. However, it’s hard to know for yourself when a tooth needs an extraction or when it can be saved with a crown or bridge.

To help you stay informed and make the best decision after discussing the issue with Dr. David Barry, our team here at Barry Family Dental in Orem, Utah, put this list together to give examples of when a tooth does and doesn’t need extraction.

When it needs extraction

If the tooth is completely dead – as in, the pulp (the living bundle of nerves and blood vessels packed inside the tooth) – then it’s likely going to be extracted. A dead tooth becomes brittle and doesn’t do as good a job as a living one does.

You may also need a tooth extracted if it’s infected to the point where the infection is threatening other teeth. It’s easier to extract one tooth and save the remaining teeth than trying to stop the infection.

When it doesn’t need extraction

A tooth likely won’t need extraction if there are only minimal signs of decay, such as small-to-mid-sized cavities. These can easily be repaired with fillings or a crown and don’t pose a long-term threat to your oral health.

Also, if your pulp is infected but it’s caught early, a root canal can eliminate the infection and keep most of your real tooth in your mouth. You’ll need a crown after the root canal, but the rest of the tooth will be natural.

If you have questions about extraction, feel free to call us today at 801-226-0441 for more information.