Tooth decay is one of the most common oral health concerns that general dentistry offices deal with. The good news is that there are effective and minimally invasive ways to treat most cases of tooth decay, and patients can prevent tooth decay from developing through good oral hygiene practices and regular dental cleanings.Tooth decay is…
Reasons to See a General Dentist About a Tooth Infection
General dentistry helps address issues like a tooth infection. A teeth infection typically occurs when a tooth’s pulp chamber has been opened up by decay or infection. This enables bacteria and the acids that they make to reach these soft tissues, leading to excruciating toothaches and significantly increasing the risk of infection.
General dentistry classifies teeth infections as dental emergencies that require immediate care. An infected tooth can be easily treated with a root canal, but it can be life-threatening if the infection is allowed to spread to other parts of the body, like the brain.
How general dentistry deals with infected teeth
An infected tooth often causes enough pain to force even people with dental anxiety to seek dental care. Treatment starts with the general dentist evaluating the patient to determine the cause of their condition. A visual examination and probing of the patient’s teeth can help determine the extent of the damage. Diagnostics like X-rays can also be used to evaluate the affected tooth. Common ways to deal with a tooth infection include the following:
1. Root canal
Root canal treatment is the standard when it comes to treating infected teeth. The procedure has a horrible reputation as a painful treatment that patients should be scared of, but it is actually pain-free for the most part. Root canal therapy brings an end to pain, it does not cause it.
The treatment involves injecting the patient with a local anesthetic to numb the area being worked on. The general dentist uses a drill to make a hole that reaches the pulp chamber and dental files to remove the tissues in the pulp chamber.
Medication might be pushed into the tooth before sealing it back up with gutta-percha. Teeth restored with root canal therapy are often covered with crowns to protect them from acids in the mouth and bite forces. In some cases, the dentist might use composite bonding to rebuild the tooth instead.
This is often recommended as a last resort when an infection is too far gone to be treated with a root canal due to the high risk of spreading to other parts of the tooth. Local anesthetics are typically administered before extracting teeth with dental tools.
Extractions typically come with a moderate recovery period that can last up to two weeks. Patients are advised to stick to liquid and soft foods during this period to avoid irritating the surgical site. Extracted teeth can be replaced with oral restorations like implants, dentures, or bridges.
In some cases, a dentist might prescribe antibiotics to help fight off a tooth infection. These antibiotics should be taken as directed to be effective. Antibiotics can be combined with other treatments, like root canal therapy.
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