It's quite impressive how far modern dentistry can go when it comes to saving a seriously damaged tooth. However, dentistry deals in science, and not in miracles, and so there comes a point where your dentist will tell you that a tooth simply can't be saved. So what happens next?
1. A Condemned Tooth
A dentist will only recommend tooth extraction when other options have been exhausted. Other means to salvage the tooth (such as root canal followed by a dental crown) will have been considered, and the fact that your dentist isn't suggesting another course of action indicates the extent of your tooth's damage. Your dentist simply wants to spare you the cost (both financial and physical) of undergoing a dental procedure that's unlikely to yield success.
2. Leaving the Gap
Removing a tooth is simple enough, but it's what comes next that requires some thought. Yes, you can live without a tooth but you shouldn't have to, especially when this absent tooth will be undeniably obvious. Even when it's not immediately visible, it's extremely unwise to leave a gap in your teeth. It amplifies the wear and tear on the surrounding teeth, causing premature degradation. This is why your dentist may suggest that you get a single-tooth implant.
3. Diminishing Density
It's in your best interests to receive a dental implant shortly after extraction. What's the rush? Your teeth are anchored in your jaw, specifically within your alveolar ridge. When one of its dental sockets is empty, this bone loses some of the density it retained to support the pressure exerted on the tooth. When the socket remains empty for a prolonged period of time, this bone must be re-densified before an implant can be placed.
4. Sooner, Not Later
This loss of density won't happen overnight, but time is of the essence. If you leave the gap in your smile for months or years, a bone graft is likely to be required before an implant can be safely installed. This is why your dentist is suggesting a tooth implant sooner rather than later. The ultimate decision is yours, but your dentist wants the most straightforward, most predictable outcome for your teeth. If you're undecided about an implant, your dentist may suggest a socket preservation graft after extraction. This prevents your alveolar bone from losing too much density and paves the way for an implant in the future, and it's far less intensive than other forms of grafting.
The best outcome is for an implant shortly after extraction, but if there is to be any delay, please listen when your dentist recommends a socket preservation graft.