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Dentistry/12 yr. Molar


My daughter who is in her 50's has a lower 12 yr. molar that had a root canal and a crown.  She has some discomfort off and on and the tooth feels slightly loose when checked.  Her x-ray shows a slight infection below the tooth, but the root canal looks good.  She is thinking about just having this back tooth pulled.  Since this is a back tooth would you recommend pulling the tooth?  She was told she already has some bone loss at this tooth.  Thank you.

Dear Jane:
As I read your question, the only response that comes to my mind is: "...and then???"
I understand the problem that your daughter has.  However, the question is not whether to extract the tooth or not.  The question is: how to replace it? and does it need replacement?
The fact that the tooth is "in the back" does not mean that it is not important.  As a matter of fact it is extremely important for proper functioning.  However, before a decision can be made, one has to evaluate the complete situation.
How is your daughter's general oral health?
Does she want to keep her teeth and have a better quality of living as she gets older?
Does she have an antagonist (opposing tooth in the other arch) to the tooth in question?
Financially, can she afford to have the tooth replaced with an implant? or a removable denture?
It is unfortunately impossible for me, or anyone to answer the questions without a proper physical examination and looking at X-rays.
Extracting a tooth is not final treatment.  It is just a way to get rid of pain and infection.  Final treatment is either fixing the problematic tooth or replacing it for a functional implant (or a bridge).
Generally, I recommend to try and save a tooth as much as possible.  Many people elect to have micro surgery to remove the infection at the tip of the roots.  They can then keep the crown and tooth intact.  Others will choose to remove a tooth because any further treatment is questionable and not long lasting and replacing the tooth with an implant is more prudent.
I have given you some food for thought, but ultimately, your daughter has to talk to her dentist in order to achieve an educated decision.
Best of luck,


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Zev Kaufman, D.D.S.


I can answer any question from simple routine dentistry to very complex dentistry with emphasis on reconstructive, cosmetic, and implant dentistry. My expertise is in co-ordination of very complex treatment plans with other dental specialists or as a one-man-team, since I have extensive training in Prosthodontics, Surgical Implantology, and orthodontics.


Over a decade in private practice of Surgical Implantology and Prosthodontics. Founder and owner of Prosthodontics & Implant Surgery of Manhattan, PC. Clinical Assistant Professor at the Post-Graduate Department of Periodontics & Implant Dentistry at New York University College of Dentistry. Lecture weekly since 1999 on advanced Implant Prosthodontics at New York University College of Dentistry Post-Graduate Program in Periodontics & Implant Dentistry. Former clinical assistant professor of Dental Radiology at the NYU College of Dentistry. Former clinical and lecture faculty at Lincoln Hospital, Dental residency program. Former clinical and lecture faculty at St. Barnabas Hospital (Bronx, NY) dental residency program. Lecture nationally on Prosthodontics and Implant Dentistry.

Memeber of the American College of Prosthodontics. Memeber of the Acacdemy of Osseointegration. Member or the Omikron Kappa Upsilon (OKU) Honors Dental Society. Member of the American Dental Education Association.

Graduated with Honors from New York University College of Dentistry. Post-Graduate training and certificate in the specialty of Prosthodontics. Post-Graduate training and ceritificate in Surgical and Prosthetic Implant Dentistry. Honors-program in Comprehensive and Applied Practice Management. Honors-program in Orthodontics.

Awards and Honors
NYU Cervice award to the community. OKU honor society. National Dean's List. National Who's Who.

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