It’s common for things to go wrong with our teeth. Cavities, cracks and chips, and root canal infections are all dental problems people encounter at some point in their lifetime. It may be tempting when faced with these issues to just have the problem removed by extracting the problem tooth, but saving your natural teeth is always desirable. If a tooth in your smile becomes infected, discuss with your dentist if root canal treatment is an option for natural teeth care.
How can a bacterial infection threaten my mouth?
A root canal treatment becomes necessary when the roots of the teeth become infected with harmful bacteria. The roots inside a tooth are filled with pulp, a sensitive tissue that contains nerves and blood vessels.
The primary purpose of the pulp is to nourish the teeth and gums, but a fully grown adult tooth does not require pulp to subsist. When the pulp becomes infected it must be removed to save the tooth.
When a tooth becomes infected, a number of problems occur. Most noticeably, you will begin to experience more sensitivity in the infected tooth. This sensitivity will eventually progress toward greater pain if left untreated.
Affected areas will also become discolored. Depending on how long the pulp of the tooth has been infected, the tooth will vary in color. Early stages of infection show loss of shine and a darkening of color. At the severe stages of infection, teeth decay and turn black.
If not treated, the infection can spread into other areas of your mouth. When bacteria spreads to the gums it causes inflammation or infection. An infected tooth can easily lead to gum disease. Abscesses can also form along the gums.
How can a root canal procedure help?
Pulp within teeth becomes infected in many ways. A chip or crack can make a tooth susceptible to infection. Given that tooth trauma can occur in many ways every day, such as a sports injury or a fall, you will want to know how you can get help.
During a root canal treatment, the infected pulp is removed from the root of the tooth. Local anesthesia is applied and an access hole is made in the tooth to reach the infected tissue. A healthy adult tooth can survive without the pulp, so necessary removal will not negatively affect your tooth.
Once the infection is removed and treated, different options are available for the structural restoration of the tooth. If the post-procedure hole is large enough, a filling may be required. It is also not uncommon for your dentist to install a temporary filling after your procedure. However, it is more common for a dental crown to be placed over the tooth to restore the tooth’s original structure, integrity, appearance, and function.
Why save your natural teeth?
Here are some reasons why it’s in your best interest to keep your natural smile:
- Minimizing the risk of infection. Having root canal treatment done is safer than getting a removal. A root canal allows for all the bacteria to be extracted. The bacteria in an infected tooth travels through the bloodstream, and a tooth removal presents more opportunity for the bacteria to reach it.
- Cost. While the initial extraction cost is cheaper than root canal treatment, in the long term, saving your natural tooth is going to be less expensive. The costs of replacement implants, partial dentures or dental bridges can add up.
- It is less painful. Despite the common misconception, that root canals are extremely painful, having a tooth pulled induces far more pain. During a removal a tooth can accidentally become cracked, resulting in discomfort and the possibility of spreading infection.
- Maintaining your stunning smile. If you choose removal over root canal treatment you run the risk of having your teeth misaligned. Teeth naturally shift to fill in gaps in your mouth. Even though there are ways of hiding crooked teeth, there are other physical effects that can cause problems, like difficulty speaking clearly or chewing certain foods.
Maintaining your natural teeth is easy. Use the recommended oral care products that your dentist gives you and keep up with regular brushing and flossing and dental cleanings and exams for healthy teeth and gums.
Save your natural smile
If you need treatment for an infected tooth, root canal treatment and therapy is an excellent option. Why take on the risks that come with tooth extraction when there is a better option that can maintain your beautiful natural smile? At Owens Cosmetic and Family Dentistry, you have access to a team of experienced dental staff who will ensure your experience is as gentle as possible. If you want to preserve your natural teeth, call our practice at (248)-671-4350 or visit us online. We look forward to providing you with quality dental care.