Can I avoid tooth extraction if I have a cracked tooth?

girl in dentist chair being worked onDental injuries, such as a cracked or chipped tooth, can be frightening. Normally after breaking a part of a tooth, a person’s first concern is whether the tooth will have to be extracted. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent the need for extraction in many circumstances – especially if a person receives professional treatment soon after their injury. One method for preserving a damaged tooth is through root canal therapy. This treatment can treat infections that occur deep inside teeth and prevent further internal damage.

What are root canals?

Root canals are a part of tooth anatomy. Inside the roots of teeth are semi-hollow chambers that contain the nerve endings of a tooth along with dental pulp (which contains vital cellular material). When teeth are healthy, the root canal is not exposed to oral bacteria. However, if a tooth is badly decayed or deeply cracked, root canals can be infected with bacteria. An infected root canal can lead to the need for tooth extraction if it is not treated early on.

How will I know if I have an infected root canal?

The most common symptom associated with a root canal is a persistent toothache. Unfortunately, discomfort isn’t a fool-proof way to measure dental health. If you have cracked or chipped your tooth, you should make an appointment with our dentist as soon as possible for a checkup. Untreated tooth decay can also lead to infected root canals. Since symptoms are not always present and the interior of our teeth is not visible without diagnostic imaging, it is important to receive routine oral examinations from our dentist, too.

What is root canal treatment?

Root canal treatment, also called root canal therapy, is an endodontic procedure that treats infections that occur on the inside of teeth within the root canal. This is done by accessing the root canal with very small dental instruments. The nerve and dental pulp are removed, and the root canal is irrigated and sealed with a rubber-like compound. Root canal therapy can remove infected material while also preventing a tooth from become abscessed or so badly diseased that it must be surgically extracted.

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