Nothing is as good as your natural tooth!
Saving your natural tooth should always be your first choice when dental care is needed, and is the preferred choice over tooth extraction. Nothing, not even the most advanced bridges and implants, can truly replace your natural tooth.
If your dentist recommends tooth extraction, ask if it an endodontist can help save it with a root canal. This endodontic treatment removes the injured pulp (soft inner tissue) of your tooth and fills and seals the space.
Your tooth is then restored and can function just like any other tooth for the rest of your life, ensuring comfortable chewing and a natural appearance.
Endodontists can often save the most severely injured teeth.
If your tooth cannot be saved — and some cannot — you may consider replacements such as a bridge or dental implant. Your options may depend upon the condition of surrounding teeth and bone structure.
Dental implant procedures can be complex, costly and they often require several visits and several month’s healing time before the procedure can be completed.
Do everything possible to save your teeth before considering tooth extraction. Nothing is as good as your natural tooth!
What's Inside a Tooth? From the outside, a tooth looks like a hard, solid substance. But this cut-away illustration reveals that a tooth is really a complex system of specialized tissues.
Symptom: Momentary sensitivity to hot or cold foods.
Possible problem: If this discomfort lasts only moments, sensitivity to hot and cold foods generally does not signal a serious problem. The sensitivity may be caused by a small decay, a loose filling or by minimal gum recession that exposes small areas of the root surface.
What to do: Try using toothpastes made for sensitive teeth. Brush up and down with a soft brush; brushing sideways wears away exposed root surfaces. If this is unsuccessful, see your general dentist. If the sensitivity is coming from a decay you should see your general dentist.
Symptom: Sensitivity to hot or cold foods after dental treatment.
Possible problem: Dental work may inflame the pulp inside the tooth causing temporary sensitivity.
What to do: Wait two to four weeks. If the pain persists or worsens, see your general dentist.
Symptom: Sharp pain when biting down on food.
Possible problem: There are several possible causes of this type of pain: decay, a loose filling or crack in the tooth. There may also be damage to the pulp tissue inside the tooth.
What to do: See a dentist for evaluation. If the problem is pulp tissue damage, your dentist may send you to an endodontist. Endodontists are dentists who specialize in pulp-related procedures. Your endodontist will perform a procedure that cleans out the damaged pulp and fills and seals the remaining space. This procedure is commonly called a "root canal.”
Symptom: Lingering pain after eating hot or cold foods.
Possible problem: This probably means the pulp has been damaged by deep decay or physical trauma.
What to do: See your dentist or endodontist to save the tooth with root canal treatment.
Symptom: Constant and severe pain and pressure, swelling of gum and sensitivity to touch.
Possible problem: A tooth may have become abscessed, causing an infection in the surrounding gingival tissue and bone.
What to do: See your endodontist for evaluation and treatment to relieve the pain and save the tooth.
Symptom: Dull ache and pressure in upper teeth and jaw.
Possible problem: The pain of a sinus headache is often felt in the face and teeth. Grinding of teeth, a condition known as bruxism, can also cause this type of ache.
What to do: For sinus headache, see your physician. For bruxism, consult your dentist. If pain is severe and chronic, see your endodontist for evaluation.
What the Future Holds
The tooth that has had appropriate endodontic treatment followed by a proper restoration can last as long as your other natural teeth. After the tooth has been restored, you need only practice good oral hygiene, including brushing, flossing, regular checkups and cleanings.
Your dentist or endodontist may periodically x-ray the tooth to ensure that healing has occurred. Occasionally, a tooth that has undergone endodontic treatment does not heal or pain continues. At times, the tooth may become painful or diseased months or even years after successful treatment. Often when this occurs, repeating the endodontic procedure can save the tooth.
Taking Care of Your Tooth
Root canal treatment is only one step in returning your tooth to full function. A proper final restoration of the tooth is extremely important in ensuring long-term success. This final filling might be place in the referral office by a specialist or by your own dentist.
A dentist with 3 years of advanced training in the scope of endodontics who has received a certificate in endodontics from an advanced education program accredited by the NVvE. (Dutch society of endodontology. www.NVvE.com).
The endodontic specialist is responsible for the advancement of endodontic knowledge through research, the transmission of information concerning the most recent advances in biologically acceptable procedures and materials, and the education of the public as to the importance of endodontics in keeping the dentition in a physiologically functional state for the maintenance of oral and systemic health.