If you have a damaged (from tooth decay or even periodontal disease) or traumatized tooth, extraction is not the only option as there is a chance that you can save your natural tooth. Whenever possible, it is always better to save your teeth rather than lose them, as missing teeth have negative effects on confidence, ability to chew, general health and the alignment of the remaining teeth. Here are the alternative procedures to tooth extraction if you would like to keep a beautiful, natural smile.
Save Your Teeth with Root Canal Procedures
Root canal treatment is the most popular alternative to teeth extraction. Endodontic treatment or a root canal treats the living parts found inside the teeth known as the pulp. The pulp consists of the soft tissue inside the teeth made up of nerves, blood vessels and connective tissues that nourish the root during the development stage. When the teeth develop fully, it is possible to remove the pulp without affecting the teeth since the supporting tissues provide nourishment.
Tooth decay, repeat dental procedures, cracks, chips, trauma caused by accidents and faulty crowns can trigger infections and inflammation of the pulp. Root canal therapy treats the damaged pulp preventing major pain and abscess. Root canal treatment involves the non-surgical removal of the infected or inflamed pulp. The resulting hollow is cleaned, disinfected, shaped, filled and sealed to prevent further infections. A tooth restoration procedure using a crown or filling follows to restore the tooth to its normal function and structure. After root canal treatment, teeth can last for a lifetime without requiring another root canal treatment or dental procedure.
Save Your Teeth with Endodontic Surgery
Another alternative to losing teeth through extraction is to undergo endodontic surgery. One of the most popular surgeries is apicoectomy or root-end resection done when the inflammation or infection continues spreading to the bony tissue even after root canal treatment. An endodontist removes the infected area and sometimes part of the root and then seals the area. This is a safe procedure made comfortable by the use of local anesthesia. There are no serious complications and the bone heals within a few months.
Another sophisticated endodontic surgery procedure to save the teeth is intentional replantation. This involves the removal of the infected teeth for treatment outside the mouth. After treatment, an endodontist plants the tooth back in its socket and it resumes normal operation without the infection. Other surgery options to save the teeth include separating the tooth into two halves, or surgery to fix or remove an injured root.
Endodontic surgery is beneficial in the following situations:
- For diagnosis and treatment of root infections, minor fractures and tiny canals that do not show on the x-rays; yet there are symptoms of infection.
- For cleaning, treatment and sealing of too narrow canals that root canal treatment instruments cannot penetrate to reach the roots.
- For treatment of teeth that fail to heal after a root canal treatment or develop infections after a root canal procedure.
- For treatment of damaged roots and supporting bone structure of the teeth.
Other Ways to Save Your Damaged or Dying Teeth
Some people take painkillers to eliminate toothache and other symptoms instead of undergoing a tooth extraction immediately. However, this does not deal with the root problem but only eliminates the symptoms. It is possible to treat some infections using antibiotics, however. Still, it’s best to consult your dentist to find out the best solution for your specific needs.
Early Periodontal Disease Treatment
For people with mild gum disease, tooth loss is inevitable if the mild gum disease goes untreated and develops into chronic periodontal inflammation. Early diagnosis and treatment of gum disease is the best way to prevent tooth loss associated with periodontal disease.
Apart from endodontic procedures, maintaining proper dental hygiene is the best way to save your teeth from extraction or any other restorative dental procedure. Proper dental care involves brushing teeth properly at least twice a day, flossing daily, following a healthy diet and visiting the dentist regularly. This prevents damage to the teeth in the first place, thereby eliminating the need to undergo root canal treatment or teeth extraction. This is also the best way to ensure your teeth stay healthy for a long time and delay tooth loss.
If it is too late or impossible to save the teeth and extraction is inevitable, replacing the extracted teeth with dental implants and other structures is the best way to avoid the negative effects of physically visible tooth loss.
It is important to see your dentist regularly for routine dental care and examinations. This will help prevent the issues listed above. Maintaining good dental health will lead to a lifetime of smiles.