As a practicing dentist, one of the most common responses I get from patients when I ask why we haven’t seen them on a regular basis is, “Well, nothing was hurting, so I thought everything was ok.” But, did you know that teeth don’t necessarily have to be causing you pain to be in bad shape? Often times there is pain associated with deep cavities or fractured teeth and the pain is what brings our patients back in to see us, but there doesn’t have to be. Teeth can be completely pain free and have major issues.

So, what does that mean for you, the patient? If you head in to Afdent and during the examination process we tell you that you have a deep cavity that has affected the nerve you are left with two choices; one being a root canal and the other being an extraction. Under the right conditions one choice is to treat the badly damaged tooth and attempt to save it. This process involves removing the nerve of the tooth and it is called a root canal. 

Most patients have heard of a root canal, and almost everyone has heard a horror story or two about them. But, in the hands of an experienced dentist or specialist, a root canal procedure should not be any more painful than getting a filling done. The tooth is numbed and the cavity and nerve are removed, the internal aspect is disinfected, and the tooth is sealed and filled back in. 

Afterward, it’s not uncommon for some soreness or tenderness in the area as the body heals and rebuilds where the infection was affecting the tooth and bone, but that is not always the case. When cared for properly root canal treated teeth have a very favorable long-term prognosis and the treatment is typically less costly than replacing the missing tooth if it is extracted.

Now there are circumstances where the outcome of a root canal would not be favorable due to lack of tooth structure, extensive cavities throughout the mouth, or an inability to properly care for the tooth after treatment. In those situations an extraction may be indicated to relieve pain in the area of the infected tooth. The tooth or area around the tooth is numbed and the tooth is loosened and removed. It is common during this procedure to feel pressure and hear noises, but it should not be painful similarly to the root canal procedure. 

Removing the infected tooth will relieve the symptoms and treat the problem, but it will result in a missing tooth that will affect the surrounding teeth over the course of your life. Spaces from missing teeth will cause the teeth around them to shift or move vertically to fill in the gaps, which can lead to loss of the surrounding teeth over time. 

Therefore, when extracting teeth is it important to only do so with a plan of action prepared by you and Afdent. Options include replacing the missing teeth with an implant, a bridge, or a partial denture/flipper to fill in the space, or to plan on extracting teeth until it is time for a complete denture. 

As a general rule of thumb, being proactive is less costly than being reactive. So, please visit Afdent prior to having pain and see us for regular check-ups so that cavities can be caught early enough for traditional fillings and major work can be avoided. However, if you are in pain or need more extensive work we would be happy to help you and treat your dental needs. 

WordPress Lightbox