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Should You Cap A Tooth Or Remove It?

A cap is highly recommended and almost universally implemented for people in their teens, 20s and 30s who suffer a cracked tooth or some kind of damage that weakens the tooth. But what should patients in their 40s and beyond do? Teeth, at that point, are often weakened from age and abuse, and often times, capping an older and oft-repaired tooth is akin to pouring a lot of money into an old car: It is just delaying the inevitable and throwing good money after bad. But still, the possibility of permanently losing a tooth is a jarring one for most people. So what to do? Here’s a list of things you should consider if you are faced with the decision of having adult teeth capped or pulled:

—What is your dental history?

If you’re in your 40s or beyond and having trouble with oral health for the first time, getting your adult teeth capped will probably be a more likely option than having adult teeth pulled. The tooth should be strong for its age and able to provide you many more years of sturdiness. But if it’s a tooth that has been operated on multiple times, and if you have a mouth full of repaired teeth, it might be for the best to get those troublesome adult teeth pulled and minimize future wear and tear (not to mention future dental bills).

—What are the advantages of getting adult teeth capped?

There’s certainly a cosmetic advantage—seen and unseen—to getting adult teeth capped. Most people are self-conscious about their mouth and their smile and don’t want a gaping hole visible to everyone every time they open their mouths. Even gaps that are in the back of the mouth, out of sight to everyone but a dentist, leave people self-conscious. After all, we’re not used to feeling a gap in our mouths! In addition, the ability to retain the original tooth structure is important and essential whenever possible.

—What are the advantages of pulling the tooth?

Sometimes, a tooth isn’t worth saving, and the patient will be better served cutting his losses, so to speak, because trying to save the tooth will further weaken those around it. However, if one tooth is damaged and the rest are healthy, the patient can look into having the bad tooth removed and replaced with a fake one—i.e. a dental implant. Those who are in good oral health are perfect candidates for replacement teeth, which look and feel just like the real thing and can be implemented with relative ease.

You can help your teeth stay healthy and thus delay having to decide to get adult teeth capped or have them pulled - by engaging in good dental habits early on. Regular brushing and flossing will go a long way towards keeping your mouth happy and your teeth healthy, as will visiting a dentist at least twice a year for cleanings and checkups. The better you take care of your teeth in your younger years, the better the odds are you won’t have to worry about capping vs. pulling until you’re in your golden years!

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