When a tooth has been damaged to the point that a root canal infection has developed, patients must undergo treatment immediately to save the tooth. If patients don’t undergo root canal therapy, the infection can progress to the point that the tooth can’t be salvaged and must be extracted.
At Gerald J Regni, DMD & Associates, Dr. Gerald Regni and Dr. Adil Salik we perform root canal therapy to save a tooth whenever possible. If the tooth can’t be saved, we can perform a tooth extraction and replace the missing tooth with a dental bridge or a dental implant topped with a crown. To learn more about root canal therapy vs. tooth extraction, contact our Philadelphia, PA practice today.
What Is a Root Canal Infection?
A root canal infection occurs when bacteria within the mouth damage the natural tooth structure, create a hole in the outer layers of the tooth. Left untreated, bacteria will continue to destroy the protective layers of the tooth until it reaches the root canals within the center of the tooth.
The root canals contain nerves, blood vessels, and tissues within the tooth. When bacteria reach these soft tissues, the root canal infection progresses quickly. A root canal infection can cause severe pain, abscesses, and bone loss at the tip of the tooth. Eventually the infection gets so bad that the tooth has to be removed.
Root Canal Infection Therapy
Since this dental condition results in noticeable symptoms such as pain, swelling and tenderness of the gum tissue, abscesses, and discoloration of the tooth, patients should schedule a dental appointment as soon as they begin to experience the signs of a root canal infection.
Root canal infection therapy involves the removal of all bacteria within the tooth. To clear out the infected pulp material in the root canals, we will create an access hole in the tooth, and use dental files to remove all tissues from the root canal chambers.
Next, we will fill the canals with a rubber substance called gutta percha. We will close the access hole with a dental filling, and cap the tooth with a dental crown to provide more strength and protection for the tooth.
If we determine that the tooth’s crown and roots have been damaged beyond the point of repair, we will recommend tooth extraction and discuss your tooth replacement options.
First we will remove the tooth, from crown to root, so the root canal infection can’t cause any further damage to the gums or surrounding teeth.
Then we will perform tooth replacement treatment. To replace a single tooth, patients have two options: a traditional dental bridge or a dental implant-supported crown.
Many patients prefer dental bridge treatment because it is less expensive and doesn’t require surgery. The bridge, or artificial tooth, is attached to the adjacent teeth. The adjacent teeth are filed down on all sides so crowns can be attached to the teeth, with the bridge filling in the space left by the missing tooth.
For patients that don’t want to file down surrounding healthy teeth, a dental implant is a great option. A dental implant is surgically placed in the gums, effectively replacing the root of the tooth. Once the area around the implant has healed, a crown can be attached to the implant.
To learn more about root canal therapy vs. tooth extraction, contact Gerald J Regni, DMD & Associates today.