Tooth decay will more than likely happen to you at some point in your lifetime. It is virtually impossible to escape adolescence and adulthood without being diagnosed with a cavity. When the decay is mild to moderate, a dental filling can generally be used to repair a tooth. Once the infection penetrates the inner tooth, more aggressive treatments are typically required, such as root canal therapy or tooth extraction. Dr. Thomas Tang offers a complete list of general dentistry treatments at his dental practice in Brookfield, WI, to meet the unique needs of his patients. Below he describes the differences between root canal therapy vs. tooth extraction and how to know when one is needed. While conservative treatments are usually attempted first, if Dr. Tang feels your oral health is in jeopardy, he will recommend an extraction.
Understanding Root Canal Infections
Your tooth is made up of several different layers. The most important to remember include enamel, dentin, and the pulp chamber. When damage occurs to the enamel or dentin, a dental filling or dental crown is usually applied to help restore the structural integrity of a tooth.
The pulp chamber contains dental pulp, which includes nerve endings, connective tissue, and blood vessels. When infection penetrates the inner tooth, it permanently compromises the roots of the tooth and root canal therapy is required. Individuals who have a root canal infection generally experience severe pain. Treatment should be administered immediately, or the infection could spread quickly to nearby teeth and gums.
What Happens During Root Canal Therapy?
During root canal therapy the infected dental pulp is removed in order to save the tooth. After the tooth is completely sterilized, the dental pulp is replaced with a material called gutta percha to help maintain the proper structure. The tooth is then capped with a dental crown to ensure that function is restored. Root canal therapy salvages your tooth and gives you the ability to effectively bite down and chew without worry or discomfort.
When Is Tooth Extraction Necessary?
If the tooth is too damaged or the infection has abscessed, the tooth will more than likely need to be removed. Tooth extraction will prevent the infection from compromising nearby teeth, the gum tissue, and jawbone. Because your oral health is correlated with your overall health, the infection can spread to your bloodstream and cause systemic issues. Acting quickly can prevent serious health and wellness issues.
During your consultation, Dr. Tang will perform the necessary x-rays to determine the extent of damage and recommend the right treatment based on the results. While he will try and preserve as much of your natural tooth structure first with root canal therapy, he will do what is best to help protect your overall oral and physical health.
Contact Us Today
If you are currently experiencing dental pain of any kind, please contact our office today to schedule your consultation with Dr. Tang. An early diagnosis can help prevent the infection from spreading and may even save your tooth.