Teeth are vital sensory organs that contribute to our daily activities of living. Unfortunately, teeth can be lost for several reasons including trauma, caries, and periodontal disease. Although dental trauma injuries and caries are more frequently encountered in a younger population, tooth loss because of periodontal disease occurs in the older population. In the dental implant era, the trend sometimes seems to be to extract compromised teeth and replace them with dental implants. However, the long-term prognosis of teeth might not be comparable with the prognosis of dental implants. Complications, failures, and diseases such as peri-implantitis are not uncommon, and, despite popular belief, implants are not 99% successful. Other treatment options that aim to save compromised or diseased teeth such as endodontic treatment, periodontal treatment, intentional replantation, and autotransplantation should be considered on an individual basis. These treatments have competing success rates to dental implants but, more importantly, retain the natural tooth in the dentition for a longer period of time. These options are important to discuss in detail during treatment planning with patients in order to clarify any misconceptions about teeth and dental implants. In the event a tooth does have to be extracted, procedures such as decoronation and orthodontic extrusion might be useful to preserve hard and soft tissues for future dental implant placement. Regardless of the treatment modality, it is critical that strict maintenance and follow-up protocols are implemented and that treatment planning is ethically responsible and evidence based.
Keywords: plaque; prevention; trauma.
© 2019 John Wiley & Sons A/S and American Association of Endodontists.