Severe pain, swelling, redness, or fever: if you are experiencing any of the mentioned symptoms, it is highly likely that you have an infected tooth and will need to have it extracted. To avoid further complications, it is important to have this infected tooth extracted as soon as possible. This blog post will discuss why infected tooth extraction is necessary and what you can expect from the procedure.
Can I have a Tooth Removed if there’s an Infection there?
A common belief associated with infected or abscessed teeth is that they cannot be extracted until the condition has been subdued. This is not true in many cases where the best option to get rid of the infection is to remove the tooth. The infection may occur in the tooth’s nerves, roots, or the gum surrounding the area. The treatment method used to treat the infection depends on the area of infection and how far it has progressed.
In case of an infection, the bacteria from your mouth may find their way to the pulp and cause nerve damage. This is why tooth extraction has to be performed to prevent this damage. A root canal procedure may also help if the damage isn’t extreme. In this procedure, the infection is drained, and the area is sealed to prevent the bacteria from infecting it again.
Signs of Infection
Before tooth extraction, dentists look for certain signs and symptoms to determine the course of the treatment. The signs may vary in every individual; therefore, only a reliable medical expert can help you with the diagnosis. If the signs of infection are evident, the patient is prescribed to take some antibiotics before the tooth extraction.
- Extreme pain and visible swelling
- The distinct appearance of the teeth as compared to the others
- Pus coming out on squeezing the affected area
- Damage to roots visible in dental X-ray
Why is Tooth Extraction Needed?
Dental infections often spread locally. However, if the abscessed tooth isn’t treated, the infection can spread to other areas of your body and potentially cause sepsis, a life-threatening medical condition.
If left untreated, the infection may reach other parts, such as the jaw, head, or neck. In severe cases, it may even cause brain damage and become life-threatening. This is why proper treatment of the infection is necessary. This may be done by draining the infection using root canal treatment or removing the tooth altogether.
Using antibiotics to postpone the tooth extraction is not the ideal solution if the infection has progressed and reached the nerves. If the tooth has been infected beyond repair, there is no choice but to remove it. After the tooth is removed, some infection may still be present inside, which has to be drained or targeted with the help of antibiotics.
Infected Tooth Extraction
The goal of treatment is to get rid of the infection. To do this, your dentist may:
- Open up (incise) and drain the abscess. The dentist makes a small cut into the abscess, allowing the pus to drain. The dentist then washes the area with salt water (saline). Occasionally, a small rubber drain is placed to keep the area open for drainage while the swelling goes down.
- Do a root canal. This can help get rid of the infection and save your tooth. To do this, your dentist would drill into your tooth, remove the diseased central tissue (pulp), and drain the abscess. The dentist then fills and seals the tooth’s pulp chamber and root canals. The tooth may be capped with a crown to make it stronger, especially if this is a back tooth. If you care for your restored tooth properly, it can last a lifetime.
- Pull the affected tooth. If the affected tooth can’t be saved, your dentist will pull (extract) the tooth and drain the abscess to eliminate the infection.
- Prescribe antibiotics. You may not need antibiotics if the infection is limited to the abscessed area. But if the infection has spread to nearby teeth, jaw, or other areas, your dentist will likely prescribe antibiotics to stop it from spreading further. Your dentist may also recommend antibiotics if you have a weakened immune system.
The bottom line is that the infected tooth has to be extracted as soon as possible. Visiting a dentist regularly can help you recognize the signs of infections in the initial stages and get the tooth removed before significant damage has already occurred. The risk of developing such an infection can be reduced if you take proper care of your teeth. This included maintaining proper oral hygiene, avoiding substances that may harm the teeth, and having a dental check-up every six months.