Do you have an aching tooth? Does it hurt to bite down? Does it throb and keep you up at night?
Don’t give up on it just yet
When a patient comes into Your Time Dental Urgent Care with long-time toothache, they are often desperate. “Just pull it!” They don’t want to withstand the pain any longer. They have written off the tooth and have recognized the reality that they will lose it.
Extraction isn’t the only option
When a tooth starts aching, we are reminded that there a nerves deep down in each tooth. When you feel pain, you know that something is wrong.
Veins, arteries, lymph vessels, and nerves live below the enamel and dentin in the pulp of the tooth. When the blood flow is diminished or cut off, the tooth eventually dies. Injury, trauma, or infection can cause this.
When the pulp of the tooth can’t be saved, there are generally two options; extraction or a root canal.
What is a root canal?
During a root canal procedure, the nerve and pulp of the tooth are removed. Once the roots are cleaned out and widened, they are filled with a special rubber material.
The root canal procedure is only the first step in the complete tooth restoration. The final steps are the core build-up and crown, which is the part you see above the gum line.
Why not just pull the tooth?
Now we will answer the question posed in the title. Even when a tooth is dead, the fact that the tooth is embedded in the jaw bone serves a purpose. Normal mouth function stimulates the jaw bone. When you talk, eat, and otherwise move your jaw, the tooth root puts pressure on the jaw bone. This helps keep the jaw bone healthy.
When a tooth is removed, the bone shrinks and recedes. As if it knows it isn’t needed at the site anymore. Jaw bone recession eventually alters the shape of the face. Multiple extractions cause a “sunk-in” look. If you’ve ever met a person that has had no teeth for many years, it may appear that their upper face and lower jaw are closing in together. This is because their jaw bone has receded and shrunk.
If you have a painful tooth, come see us at Your Time Dental Urgent Care. Root canal therapy may be a good option to end the pain and preserve the shape of your face.
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