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What Are Your Options If You Need a Tooth Extracted?

This is Dr. Mercola. Today, I want to share with you a little bit about dentistry and some of the challenges I had with my own dental work. I thought that you might find some value and learn from my experiences, so that you won't have to go through the same challenges I did.

Let me first explain that when I was growing up, my diet was less than ideal; I did not eat anything close to the foods I'm eating now. My diet consisted pretty much of highly processed foods, lots of sugars, lots of grains. As a result, by the time I was in high school, I basically had a mouth full of cavities, which is really sad, because if we understood the way that we're designed to eat, it is possible, I believe more than possible, to raise a child from infancy to adulthood without any cavities at all.

You see, cavities are simply one reflection of the fact of not eating properly, and other challenges. But cavities should not happen. They only occur when you're eating the wrong foods, and growing up, I clearly did not eat the right foods. As a result, I had a mouth full of metal fillings.

Eventually, I had all the metal fillings removed and had them replaced with gold fillings. Unfortunately, those are a problem too. Though they're clearly better than silver fillings, of course gold is still a metal, and metal can create this little battery effect in your mouth that can actually drive electrical currents into your brain.
So after investing many thousands of dollars (maybe up to $10,000) to have my silver fillings replaced with gold fillings and many times, gold crowns, I later had those all replaced with non-metal crowns, for the most part.

Along my dental journey, I had some abscesses develop, resulting in the removal of three of my teeth. Now, when you have a tooth removed, you don't really have a lot of options. One is, you can do nothing, which leaves a large space where the tooth was, and though that will work for a while, eventually, the teeth on either side of the space will start to collapse and cause problems. So, you don't really want to leave it untreated, or let that space go for too long.

A simple solution would be a partial, either an upper or lower partial, which probably is the least expensive option, though the most inconvenient, as you may lose it; plus, you have to put it in and remove it, as well as keep it clean.

Another option, one I don't really recommend, is to put an implant in place of the missing tooth. A metal implant can be placed into the jawbone, and a tooth can be attached to that, securing it; it's basically a tooth replacement. The unfortunate problem with this is, you have another piece of metal into your jawbone, which can cause problems. Clearly, that is, in my experience, not recommended.

If you already have a metal implant, whether or not you want to remove it is your decision. If you're not having any health problems associated with it, you may want to leave it.

However, if you have a choice, and have to have a tooth removed, you have to understand what you're going to replace it with. The ideal choice is to use a bridge. A bridge is a lot more expensive, typically in the $3,000 range. A crown runs about $1,000, and a bridge is, essentially three crowns. There's the missing tooth which needs replacing. Then, a portion of each tooth on either side of the missing tooth must be removed. Essentially, you're looking at a three-crown replacement that gets cemented in, allowing you to chew very well.

The only challenge with this option is, there's a small space between the fake tooth and your gum line. So, a special floss is required to clean it every night. In fact, this is how I lost my third tooth. I wasn't disciplined enough to floss regularly and got a small piece of food stuck in there that must have stayed in there for a week or longer, resulting in an abscess, which was the ultimate reason I lost my third tooth. As a result, I now have a four-tooth bridge.

Unfortunately, I suspect many of you have gone through similar challenges in your own health journey, where the foods that you ate while growing up were not ideal, and you're left with the results of that. So, it leaves you having to figure out the best way to address these issues.

So, this is the route I took. I hope this video will be helpful to you. Ideally, the take-home message is, if you have kids, if you're responsible in any way, shape or form for mentoring or educating children, let them understand the best way to eat. I think nutritional typing is profoundly helpful, as is eliminating all processed foods, most grains, and clearly all the sugar, as much as possible. These basics will go a long way in the direction of both your general and dental health.

Ultimately, these are the tools that will keep you healthy, that will allow you to take control of your health.