A toothache is one of the most distracting, painful chronic conditions you can deal with. An infection that starts at one of your teeth can be practically debilitating if it’s bad enough, causing pain and damage that can extend far beyond the original afflicted tooth.
That’s where dentists come in.
But can a dentist remove a tooth that’s infected? Is it possible to take care of it after the infection has already taken place, or does it need to happen beforehand?
Dealing with infected teeth
When a tooth becomes infected, it’s usually because a cavity or crack has allowed bacteria to get into the tooth pulp. That infection can eat away at the tooth from the inside, creating more cavities or tearing open cracks that already exist. In severe cases, the tooth can even come apart.
That’s to say nothing of the damage an infection can wreak if it gets into the gum or the jawbone. A periodontal infection caused by an abscessed tooth can necessitate major oral reconstructive surgery.
In some cases, to remove a tooth safely the patient will have to take antibiotics beforehand. That will clear up the infection to the point where an extraction is safe. Often, though, the infection can be addressed manually if it hasn’t progressed too far. If an abscess has occurred below the tooth, the dentist may make an incision and drain it, then wash out the space with saline solution to clean any remaining infected material.
Extract or keep?
If damage to the tooth hasn’t progressed too far, the dentist may opt to try to save the tooth with a root canal procedure. This involves cleaning out the infected pulp in the middle of the tooth, then filling the void with a sterile material and capping the top of the tooth with a crown.
In more severe cases, the internal structure of the tooth may be too compromised to work for a root canal. If this happens, the dentist will extract the tooth. They may have to cut back gum and bone to loosen the tooth, then rock it back and forth till it comes loose. If the tooth is severely damaged it may have to come out in pieces.
If you have an infected tooth, don’t wait. Take care of it as soon as you can before it becomes a more serious problem. You don’t want to need oral reconstructive surgery—take care of it before it becomes a problem. Call our office today and set an appointment. We’ll help you keep your smile bright.