In the past, a severely damaged tooth may have had to have been extracted. However, dentistry has grown by leaps and bounds over the years, and extractions may not be needed as often as in the past.
One such situation that might have required an extraction in years gone by would be damaged or infected tooth pulp. If the enamel of your tooth has been compromised by a cavity or a fracture, bacteria can make its way to the interior of your tooth and attack the pulp. The pulp contains the nerves and the blood vessels of your tooth, but the structure of the tooth can be saved if the diseased pulp is removed. If it is not removed, you could develop a more serious infection called an abscess – a collection of pus in your tooth, which can spread to your gums. The condition is unhealthy, and painful.
A root canal can preserve the structure of the tooth, while removing the infected material. The dentist will access the root chamber with a small drill and remove the infected pulp. After cleaning and enlarging the root chamber, the dentist will insert a material called gutta percha, which will fill the space left by the pulp. The dentist will place a temporary seal on your tooth and discuss placing a crown on the tooth with you.
If your dentist gives you a prescription for pain or swelling or for an antibiotic, make sure to take it as directed. If you start to feel chilled, sweaty or nauseous, or you experience a fever or shaking let your dentist know right away.
If you have tooth that has been giving you problems, don’t wait until it becomes unbearable. Call 202-362-8412 today to make an appointment to see Dr. James Feldman at Feldman Dentistry in Washington, DC. We look forward to helping you have a strong and healthy smile!