Saving Your Own Teeth




Severe gum disease or bone recession in the jaw can lead to the loss of teeth. If enough bone is lost around a tooth, the teeth may need to be removed requiring replacement with dental implants, bridges, or removable dentures. These replacement options can be quite expensive and invasive.

Alternative procedures that will let you keep your own teeth are available. At the office of Scott H. Froum, DDS, we specialize in saving natural teeth through a wide range of advanced procedures to rebuild healthy gum tissue or reverse bone loss in the jaw. There are many advantages that can come with saving your natural teeth, including optimal aesthetics and better health of the teeth and gums down the road.

Dr. Froum’s periodontal background and extensive training has allowed him to build a practice that specializes in saving his patient’s teeth. Through the latest technology using fasers, growth factors, and regenerative materials, Dr. Froum has been able to save teeth that other dentists have wanted to extract. There is no better substitute than your own teeth, and Dr. Froum can help you keep them!


Reasons to Seek a Second Opinion



With any medical procedure, seeking a second opinion can be beneficial, as this will give you a more complete look at all of your treatment options. When it comes to tooth extraction, a second opinion can spare you from extensive surgical procedures that will require long healing periods and the use of temporary teeth that can be incredibly awkward and uncomfortable.


Options for Saving Natural Teeth



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In our practice, we have invested in the latest technologies to treat advanced gum disease and bone recession while preserving the natural teeth. Below, you can see the procedures we may recommend for your smile when natural teeth are endangered by the loss of gum and bone tissue.

  • Gum Grafting

    When the gum tissue recedes due to advanced periodontitis, the teeth are more susceptible to plaque and bacteria that can lead to decay. What’s more is that the stability of the tooth is lost, so there may be some looseness when gums have receded substantially. With a gum graft, your own tissue or donated tissue can be used to rebuild a healthy and beautiful gum line that will protect your natural teeth. Learn More about Gum Grafting

  • Bone Grafting

    Tooth loss can be a continuing cycle, because bone tissue will become reabsorbed into the body in areas where natural teeth have been lost. These weaknesses in the bone can threaten remaining natural teeth, but bone grafting might help end the cycle. With bone grafting, missing bone is replaced and new growth is promoted to support implants and protect natural teeth that are still in place. Learn More about Bone Grafting

  • Laser Regeneration

    Lasers have been shown to stimulate your body’s stem cells and new tissue growth is stimulated. Learn More about Lasers in Dentistry.


Frequently Asked Questions


When is a tooth too late to save?


Even the most damaged teeth can often be saved with proper periodontal treatment in a periodontal office. Many studies have shown that teeth with advanced bone loss, even to the top of the tooth root, can be saved with advanced regeneration and instruments. Root canal therapy can also save severely damaged teeth when done properly. Teeth will need to come out in instances when a cavity has damaged a tooth beyond repair. An infection has become large enough that root canal therapy is not likely to work. Also when a tooth is fractured and broken and the root cant is fixed, it may need to be removed. Consult with a periodontist or an endodontist if you have been told your teeth are too late to save.


Is it ever too late to fix bad teeth?


Age is never a barrier to dental treatment. Chronologic age itself has no impact on a person’s ability to heal. There are other factors that increase with age such as disease and medications that can certainly affect treatment but age itself is not a prohibitive factor to dental care. It is never too late to fix bad teeth.


Can badly decayed teeth be saved?


Depending on how deep the decay is, even teeth that have cavities that have entered the middle of the tooth and traveled into the nerve can be fixed with good root canal therapy. A cavity can often be treated by a filling but if it hits the nerve a root canal may be needed. Broken down teeth badly decayed can also be saved with a good “build-up” and a tooth crown done by a dentist. Sometimes a periodontist may need to make room for the buildup and crown with a treatment known as crown lengthening. In cases where the tooth can not either be built up, root canaled or has lost enough bone to make it unlikely that treatment will work, then the tooth may need to be removed.


What happens if a tooth cannot be saved?


If you have seen a periodontist or endodontist and have been told that a tooth can not be saved there are many replacement options. A missing tooth or missing teeth can be replaced with a dental implant or multiple dental implants. Teeth that are removed or missing can also be replaced with a bridge that is cemented onto other teeth replacing the missing ones. Missing teeth can also be replaced by dentures that can be removed. Dentures can replace all missing teeth or partial dentures can replace some missing teeth.


What happens if a missing tooth is not replaced?


When a tooth is missing the surrounding teeth can shift or ‘drift’ into that missing space. Teeth can also ‘erupt’ or move upwards into a missing space in the jaw above or jaw below that has the missing space. This type of shifting can cause bone loss, gum problems, bite problems, cause cavities, and can cause TMJ issues. It is always best to replace missing teeth.


Is it better to save a tooth or pull it?


Saving teeth is always the best method of treatment if the teeth are capable of being fixed. With good periodontal treatment, lost bone and gums can be rebuilt. With good root canals, the decay that has affected the nerve can be fixed. A good dentist can repair broken down or decayed teeth with crowns or bondings. In some cases, if dental repair treatment is not likely to work, the tooth may need to be pulled. Consult with an endodontist or periodontist to evaluate your tooth.


Why are my teeth rotting even though I brush?


There are many reasons why teeth may continue to have cavities or gum disease even if you brush. Genetics can play a big role in the breakdown of your teeth and you can be prone to getting cavities and gum disease. Medications can cause dry mouth which can make someone likely to get cavities. Illnesses that affect the immune system or dry out your mouth can also cause cavities and gum disease even if you brush your teeth. Smoking, high sugar diets, high acidic diets, excessive alcohol intake, and recreational drugs are other possibilities people have cavities and gum disease.  Not brushing properly or flossing regularly is another reason people develop the oral disease. Seeing a dentist and getting a thorough exam and taking a good medical background can help a person see if they fall into these categories.


Is dental bone grafting worth it?


Bone grafting around teeth is a good treatment that can repair bone lost to periodontal disease. There are many techniques that a periodontist can use to repair lost bone and gum tissue in an attempt to try and save teeth. The cost of saving your own teeth has been shown to be much less than replacing them with dental implants in multiple long-term studies. If you have already lost your teeth and your jaw bone has decreased, bone grafting can successfully rebuild bone to be healthy enough to have a dental implant placed into it. Bone grafting is an excellent way to get an implant even if you have been told that you are not a candidate for dental implants.


Can dental bone loss be reversed?


If you have bone and gum disease and you are experiencing bone loss, if left untreated, your bone loss is unlikely to reverse itself. With proper periodontal treatment, bone loss can be stopped and in some cases reversed. The first step is to consult with a periodontist to figure out why you are losing bone. The second step is to stop the process of bone loss. The third step is to add gum and bone tissue to reverse the bone loss you have experienced. The last step would be to go for routine checkups and cleanings to make sure the treatment you received lasts and your bone loss does not continue.


How do you avoid dental implants?


Dental implants can be avoided by saving your own teeth. There are many ways teeth can be saved with periodontal treatment using bone and gum grafts. Teeth can also be fixed with crowns and dental repair material if they are broken down. Missing teeth can be replaced with bridges and/or dentures if the person wants to avoid placing dental implants into their mouth.


Can a loose tooth tighten back up on its own?


A tooth can tighten back up on its own depending on why the tooth became loose in the first place. If the tooth had an accident or trauma to the area, many times the tooth can tighten on its own after a period of healing. A tooth that is loose because it is hitting another tooth prematurely or before the other teeth, can tighten up on its own if it is adjusted by a dentist. Teeth that are moving because of orthodontics also tighten up when the forces on the teeth are removed. Teeth that are loose because of acute infections often tighten up when the infection is cleared and healing has occurred. Teeth that are loose because of chronic conditions like periodontal disease usually do not tighten up on their own without periodontal treatment.


Can you do anything about loose teeth?


Depending on why the teeth are loose, many treatments exist to tighten up teeth. One quick treatment to stop a tooth from moving is to splint that tooth to the other teeth. Teeth can be splinted with many different materials and can give the person relief from a moving tooth. In addition, if the tooth is moving because it has lost bone and gum tissue, a repair can be possible with periodontal treatment after the tooth stops moving.


How do you stabilize a loose tooth?


In many cases, a loose adult tooth or teeth can be stabilized by a process called splinting which uses the other teeth to reinforce the loose tooth when a wire or fiber is added. By stabilizing the loose tooth, the ligament that holds the tooth into the bone can strengthen. In addition, bone and gum tissue can be added to strengthen the loose tooth.


What does it mean when your gums are loose around teeth?


Swollen, red, and loose gums are a sign that a person has developed either gum disease, also called gingivitis or bone loss also called periodontal disease.  The gums can become infected with bacteria that makes them swollen and pull away from the teeth. They can also bleed and begin to hurt. Treatment of this condition is the removal of the bacteria through periodontal treatment and teeth cleanings that will cause the gum tissue to tighten up.