What happens when a tooth becomes painful? Can this tooth be saved?
When a tooth is painful, the decision whether to save or remove a tooth must be determined. If this tooth can be saved, we determine whether the patient wants to save it. Time constraints and financial concerns are just two of the variables that affect this decision.
Is a damaged tooth always painful?
Dr. Glenn Wolfinger, board certified prosthodontist at Pi Dental Center, was asked if a damaged tooth is always painful. He said, “Not always. A damaged tooth is usually initially uncomfortable. Pain will increase with swelling. But sometimes the pain goes away and the patient mistakenly believes the tooth has gotten better. However, this may mean that the nerve has died inside the tooth, which is a source of infection.”
What about an infected tooth?
Dr. Tom Balshi added, “An infected tooth can lead to medical and heart problems and can go into the blood stream and eventually lead to the brain.” Daryl Weiss, dental assistant, mentioned, “Bone loss can occur and the infection can spread to adjoining teeth.”
What if a tooth is mobile?
Wolfinger continues, “Not every mobile tooth needs to be extracted. All teeth have some level of mobility. Periodontally compromised teeth tend to be more mobile. Increased mobility is a sign that a tooth needs to be evaluated.”
How do we decide if a tooth should be saved or extracted?
“Restorability is the most important part of the decision. We determine if the tooth can be restored with a filling or a crown. Sometimes root canal is needed.”
“There are times when a tooth is not restorable. At that point a root canal would not be indicated. If the tooth cannot be restored properly, an extraction is the only option.”
“If a tooth is restorable, then it is up to the patient to decide if they want to save the tooth.”
How do patients feel about losing a tooth?
Losing a tooth can be very traumatic. The decision to extract a tooth can be very difficult, even when it is necessary. But it is important to understand that treatment options, like dental implants and AvaDent Digital Dentures that effectively provide healthy, esthetic, and functional results.
What are the criteria?
If decay approaches the bone level, then restoration may not be possible. If there is a root fracture, extraction is indicated.
What about extracting the tooth and leaving an open space?
Leaving an open space is not always the best solution. While the actual fee for an extraction is inexpensive, the long term cost is not cheap. Adjacent teeth can shift and make restoration more difficult later on. Missing teeth present an esthetic and functional deficit for the patient.
Is there more than one choice treatment?
There are several options for treatment. During the evaluation, the doctor and patient discuss several aspects of treatment to learn the patient’s most important priorities and explore all available options. Comprehensive treatment plans that outline each option in detail are provided.
To make the best decision, we consider:
- What is the best choice in terms of dental health?
- Which option will last the longest?
- Which will feel the most comfortable?
- Which choice will allow the patient to eat and speak adequately?
- Which is the most strong and durable?
- Which is the most attractive?
- Which can be achieved most quickly?
- How does the cost of each choice compare?
How can a patient avoid tooth extraction?
“If the patient maintains a regular oral hygiene schedule and allows us to adequately evaluate the health of the mouth, including radiographic examination as needed, tooth extraction can usually be avoided. Small problems become big ones when they are undiagnosed.”
So what should you do if you suspect a problem?
Try not to wait until a problem becomes an emergency. Schedule an oral hygiene visit at least every 6 months. Contact us as soon as you suspect a problem. Provide the scheduling coordinator with as much information as possible when you schedule your appointment.
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If you have questions, feel free to call us at 215-646-6334.
Pi Dental Center’s mission is to go beyond the preservation and maintenance of teeth to provide the best functional and esthetically ideal treatment. Our aim is to make your dental experience painless, convenient, and comfortable. Our supportive team helps to make your decision painless, straightforward and uncomplicated.