Root Canals, Extractions and Replacing Lost Teeth
Few words strike more fear than hearing you’ve got an abscessed tooth. Whenever possible, we will give you options based on your particular situation. Sometimes it is worth attempting to save the tooth, but sometimes not. Only you can make the final decision.
What is a Root Canal?
The inside of your tooth has a tiny blood vessel and nerve fibers running through it from the bottom of each root tip to the base of the crown of your tooth. When a tooth becomes infected or damaged, these fibers become inflamed and pressure can build up rapidly. The tooth structure can only handle so much, and the result is the pain and pressure that comes and goes in waves.
Endodontic therapy is the process of removing the dead nerve and blood vessel fibers, cleaning the canals as best as possible, then sealing them to prevent further insult and infection. This generally lasts about 5 years. Some teeth treated this way have lasted much longer – others maybe only a year.
If you do choose endodontic therapy, that tooth will need a total crown made to cover and protect it. Without blood supply for nourishment, a treated tooth becomes brittle to the point where it can actually break apart and need to be extracted.
If I have a tooth extracted, then what?
Implants, Bridges and Partials, Oh, my!
A missing tooth is more than unsightly. It can start an ugly chain of events that cause teeth to move out of their positions, leading to gum disease and more tooth loss.
If you are otherwise healthy, an implant can be surgically placed to mimic the missing tooth’s root structure. After healing, a new crown is made to replace the portion of the tooth you’d see in your mirror. With normal home care, this can last the rest of your life, making it a sound investment for many people.
A fixed bridge can replace one or two teeth by connecting to healthier adjacent teeth. First, the adjacent teeth are prepared for crowns, called abutments. Then a fake tooth (or teeth) is connected in between to replace the lost tooth. This unit is manufactured all in one piece and cemented or bonded in place.
For situations where a lower front tooth is missing or lost, a Maryland bridge may be the answer. A minimal preparation is made in the backs of the teeth either side of the missing tooth. This bridge looks like a fake tooth with wings on either side! Once bonded in place on the tongue side, no one should ever know it’s there.
When multiple teeth have been lost, the most economical route is a removable bridge, also called a “partial”. As the name implies, you take this out of your mouth to clean it after meals. Sometimes a partial is used to quickly replace a missing tooth or teeth during the implant process.
Of course, we still make complete dentures for those who have lost an entire arch of teeth. Did you know there are modern hybrid options to help dentures stay in place comfortably? Let’s talk about it.
Healthier meals, healthier you
Your teeth are more than pretty. Digestion begins in the mouth when you chew your food. You need teeth to be able to eat properly and enjoy meals again. You’ll alsofind a missing tooth makes it harder to talk and be understood. Let us help you understand your options and make a choice that works for you.