Most people used to dread the prospect of a root canal, but these days, the procedure is not the horrible experience people used to imagine it was. As a result of the highly effective anesthetics now available to dentists, most root canals are routine and patients undergo a short and trouble free recovery.
Dentists usually recommend a root canal to remove diseased or necrotic tissue in a tooth’s nerve canal. Diseased nerves result from injuries or severe damage to teeth or from deep, untreated cavities. The most common symptoms of diseased nerves are a heightened sensitivity to heat and cold on the teeth, pain or discomfort when biting or chewing or in some cases facial swelling. Removal of the tooth and replacing it with bridgework or dental implants is certainly an option, rather than undergoing a root canal. However, such treatment is more expensive in the long run and you’re almost always better off saving the tooth if you possibly can.
Following your procedure, a crown is placed over the tooth. This serves to strengthen the tooth, prevent bacteria from leaking back into the interior, potentially leading to infection, as well as giving the tooth a more pleasant appearance. Although most patients recover quickly after a root canal, on occasion the procedure can lead to minor swelling and discomfort, but this is temporary and can usually be eased with non-prescription medication from your local pharmacy.
Tooth extraction involves the surgical removal of the tooth from the mouth’s supporting structure. Although many people are still very apprehensive at the prospect of tooth removal, the process is relatively simple and inexpensive. There are a variety of reasons that may cause your dentist to recommend extraction. While dentists always strive to save your natural tooth whenever possible, and crowns and fillings can help repair damaged teeth and deep cavities, sometimes these treatments are ineffective. If a tooth has become extremely crooked, decayed or otherwise broken down, the best option may be to have it removed. For patients with more severe deterioration in the mouth, several, or even all teeth, may need to be removed, and replaced with implants, bridges or dentures.
With children, extraction may sometimes be necessary to allow for the eruption of new teeth and to help those teeth grow into their normal position. Removal may also be needed to alleviate crowding and simply create additional space in the mouth for orthodontic work. Tooth removal can help to prevent the formation of oral tumors and cysts and can also halt tooth decay, gum disease and a variety of dental infections affecting teeth and bone structure.
Wisdom teeth are quite commonly extracted, or are removed to treat bleeding, swelling or infections resulting from a wisdom tooth’s partial eruption. These problems normally occur when the wisdom teeth are not in an upright position or there is insufficient room in the mouth to accommodate them. Impacted teeth emerge in the wrong position and if they get trapped in the gums or jawbone, this can be a very painful and result in infections. It may be decided to remove an erupted wisdom tooth because of the inability to clean the area effectively, leading to possible infection of the surrounding gum or bone or the development of caries affecting adjacent teeth. Wisdom teeth that have not yet erupted may be removed to prevent the possible development of cysts or tumors. The decision to extract wisdom teeth is usually based on the risks of leaving the tooth in place versus the potential problems that could arise if it were removed. Wisdom teeth themselves are often removed when the patient is in their late teens or early twenties, when any potential risks their retention may pose can best be determined. After studying your X-rays, it may be determined that one or more of your wisdom teeth are likely to cause a problem. Your dentist may recommend early extraction to avoid any further issues.
A simple tooth extraction can be performed under local anesthesia and is a relatively straightforward procedure. Forceps and elevators are used to grab the part of the tooth visible above the gum. The tooth is then moved back and forth in order to widen the hole in which the tooth is lodged. Once the hole becomes large enough, the tooth can be removed with little trouble.
The surgical removal of teeth is more complicated, since a tooth that may have partially erupted and broken up beneath the gum line can’t be clearly seen and is not easily accessible. In these cases, using sufficient local anesthesia to ensure that the procedure is as comfortable as possible, bone and soft tissue may have to be cut in order the access the tooth. Sometimes the damaged tooth may need to be broken into several pieces so that it can be completely removed.
Either type of procedure can result in minor pain, bleeding and swelling after surgery is completed. However, medications are often used to keep infection at bay and ease discomfort, combined with home care advice to assist you in achieving a speed recovery.