When it becomes impossible to save a tooth, it will be extracted. This is far from ideal and only occurs when your dentist has explored all other possible options. But what happens next? You probably won't be satisfied with a conspicuous gap in your smile, and nor should you be. Dental extractions don't occur without a discussion about how best to replace the lost tooth.

Your Jaw Bone

It's not essential to decide upon a dental implant prior to extracting a tooth, but this is a wise course of action. Your teeth are subjected to a great deal of bite pressure on a daily basis, and when a tooth is no longer physically present, its support system becomes far less supportive. The underlying bone can lose density, meaning it might be unable to support a dental implant if too much time goes by. 

Direct Socket Grafting

This loss of density is why your dentist can recommend a direct socket graft, which is a bone graft directly into the empty dental socket at the time of extraction. It doesn't mean you're obligated to get a dental implant, but you're creating a foundation that will make this far more straightforward if you should eventually decide that a dental implant is your best option.


Dental implants aren't your only option, although it's going to offer the most natural-looking (and feeling) replacement. A dental bridge is a fine alternative, but it doesn't offer quite the same level of functionality as an implant. There are different varieties of dental bridges, and they're generally reliant on the teeth on either side of the gap being healthy enough to act as anchors for the bridge. However, it's possible (and often necessary) for these teeth to be reinforced with dental crowns before they can host a dental bridge.

A Removable Solution

A partial denture is a more cost-effective choice, although its aesthetics and functionality are at the lower end of the scale. That being said, it will do what it's supposed to do (replace that missing tooth in your smile), and can offer years of service. However, since the denture is removable, you must exercise some caution when eating, as a removable denture isn't as sturdy as a dental implant or bridge.

If your dentist tells you that extraction is the only option for your troubled tooth, then it's important to have a frank conversation about what should happen once the tooth is history.