How do you know when to save a tooth or when to get a dental implant?
When a tooth is chipped, damaged or decayed, it may be salvageable or it may need to be replaced. The nerve cells inside your teeth can die for any number of reasons, including when a tooth is knocked out, from untreated tooth decay, or from many years of heavy use. When the nerve cells in a tooth die, an open cavity inside the tooth remains. This cavity provides the perfect breeding ground for bacteria to grow. This buildup of bacteria inside one’s tooth can eventually lead to infection that can spread to the adjacent teeth, causing periodontitis (bone loss around the teeth). This disease could be active and can spread quickly, damaging even more surrounding teeth and requiring extensive treatment. It is always best to visit a dentist before periodontal disease is allowed to progress, saving you more time, money and healthy teeth in the long run.
There are two options to treat a dead tooth: one is to extract the tooth and replace it with a dental implant; the other is to try to save the tooth through a root canal procedure. In order to determine which treatment option is best for you, our qualified periodontist will evaluate the progression of periodontal disease to see if the tooth can be saved or if it needs to be extracted.
A root canal is a procedure that thoroughly cleans the inner cavity in the center of the tooth. During this procedure, your dentist will thoroughly scrape out all decayed nerve tissue and pulp, as well as any bacteria that might have built up from within the chamber. Once the chamber is thoroughly scraped, cleaned and flushed, it is sealed using a sealer paste and rubber compound to keep out foreign contaminants. Your endodontist may also inject medication into the tooth cavity in order to clear up any remaining infection that exists before sealing the tooth.
If the tooth is severely decayed and not salvageable, however, a tooth extraction and dental implant restoration is needed. A dental implant replaces a tooth root after the tooth is extracted, providing a foundation upon which to place your permanent replacement teeth. Dental implants are a healthy and ideal tooth replacement alternative when a tooth cannot be saved. Not only do they look, feel and function just like a natural tooth, but the titanium implant also stimulates growth in the gum and bone tissue, which may otherwise deteriorate after a tooth is extracted.
In either case – whether the tooth is extracted and replaced with a dental implant or salvaged via a root canal – the periodontal disease must be treated completely as part of your treatment plan. If you have a tooth or several teeth that are damaged or decayed, contact us to schedule an appointment to get the treatment you need today!