By Dr. Michael Herndon, DDS, AF

     It is pretty common in today’s world for the dentist to recommend that a tooth be extracted and an implant put in its place. But is that really the best option? The answer is more complicated than it may seem. 

     The dentist and the patient want to consider cost factors, risk factors, and longevity factors in the decision making process. Yet far too often, it seems, the quick choice is to simply extract the tooth and place an implant. But do you know if the recommendation given to you is the best choice? Is that recommendation given in your best interest? I run the risk of being criticized for possibly introducing doubt into what a dentist may be telling you and for that I apologize before the event. But this really is about you the patient, for it is your tooth, and the decision you make is an important one. So I will go ahead and give you an interesting perspective.

     What we are finding is that while dental implants are an excellent replacement for teeth when no teeth are present, or when a tooth really is hopeless, implants are not a panacea for replacement of a tooth if that tooth can be saved. In short, teeth are preferable to implants. 

     Many teeth that are recommended for extraction today are actually savable with a high level of predictability for the long term. A 300 word article is not long enough to adequately address this issue so I will just say that dental implants are not always the best decision so make your decision carefully and with a complete set of options. 

     This short article is not to denigrate dental implants for they are a remarkable option to replace missing teeth. But your teeth are often the best implant there is so make your decisions carefully! Consider requesting a referral to a dentist trained in advanced periodontics, trained in saving teeth. This can make all the difference.