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Why Save Bad Teeth? Dental 'Heroics' Unnecessary and Failure Prone

CHICAGO, Aug. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- For years, it was common practice for dentists to perform repeat root canals and other procedures to save teeth compromised by extensive decay, gum disease and bone loss. Today, the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID) said times have changed and patients should forego prolonged dental heroics to save failing teeth and replace them with long-lasting dental implants.

"There really is no justification for undergoing multiple endodontic or periodontic procedures, and enduring the pain and financial burden, to save a diseased tooth," said John Minichetti, DDS, speaking for the AAID. "The days are over for saving teeth till they fall out. Preserving questionable teeth is not the best option from both oral health and cosmetic perspectives."

Losing a tooth is an emotional decision and patients must clearly understand the oral health and cosmetic implications of preserving questionable teeth. Even though patients often resist losing natural teeth, in many cases the best outcomes occur from extracting them and inserting implants, which look and function like natural teeth.

"Our patients expect restorative dental procedures to make their smiles more attractive and long- lasting. In most cases, implants deliver the best results, as the ultimate goal is to achieve an esthetic and functional restoration for years to come," said Minichetti.

Published studies have shown there is a higher failure rate of root canal procedures vs. dental implants. In some cases, root canals fail because abscesses occur, and oral surgery is required to clean out the infected area.

Minichetti noted that a recent study published in the Journal of Oral Implantology showed that single-tooth dental implants are 98.5 percent successful after seven years and there was no discernable bone loss in almost all the implant sites. First-time root canals fail 5 percent of the time, according to the American Academy of General Dentistry, and at much higher rates in repeat procedures. Further, endodontic surgical re-treatments, according to published studies, have success rates ranging from 37 to 87 percent.

Saving compromised teeth in the esthetic zone with periodontal treatments also can have unfavorable cosmetic results, according to Minichetti. "Periodontal procedures to save decaying natural teeth can require raising the gum line and exposing teeth roots to anchor a new crown," he said. "The crown needs something to hold onto, so you have to push the gum tissue up with unfavorable cosmetic impact." He noted that patients should always ask the dentists how their smiles will look if they chose to save a questionable tooth in the esthetic zone with a periodontal procedure.

AAID can help consumers find a local credentialed implant dentist at AAID is based in Chicago and has more than 3,500 members. It is the first organization dedicated to maintaining the highest standards of implant dentistry by supporting research and education to advance comprehensive implant knowledge.

SOURCE American Academy of Implant Dentistry
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