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How to Treat an Abscessed Tooth

12 Nov, 2015

How to Treat an Abscessed Tooth

An abscessed tooth is an infection. An abscess can often include pus and swelling of the soft gum tissues that are surrounding the tooth. An abscess generally develops because of tooth decay or tooth trauma, such as a broken tooth. An opening in the enamel of a tooth, can also be created by a cavity. Either of these can allow bacteria to get into the center of the tooth. This can often cause an infection. The area inside the tooth essentially consists of "pulp" and it is soft and tender. Because of this, infection can cause a great deal of damage. This resulting damage is called an abscess of the tooth.
Once an abscess begins to occur, the infection can spread throughout the rest of the mouth and body. Usually, a root canal is the only option to save a tooth, once it has become abscessed. If you suspect that you might have an abscessed tooth, it's important to go and see your dentist right away. The sooner this problem is treated, the more likely that potential damage can be minimized. The longer you wait for treatment, the more likely that the effects created by the abscess will have permanent consequences that cannot be reversed.
If an abscess causes the tooth to be severely decayed all the way into the nerve of the tooth, then a root canal is usually the only option to save the tooth. That is why it is so important to see your dentist, if you think you might be suffering from this problem. A root canal is a dental procedure that attempts to fix a tooth that cannot be filled or restored in any other way. The procedure is quite involved and extensive. Catching an abscess early can prevent you from ever needing a root canal. If you do require this procedure though, here's what you can expect.
A root canal begins with the dentist numbing your tooth. It's likely that they will use a rubber "dam" to keep the tooth area dry and free of saliva. A rubber dam is a piece of rubber that is designed to fit over the tooth and isolate it from the rest of the mouth. The dentist then needs to prepare the tooth by drilling and opening into the decayed area. After the dentist removes all the decay and bacteria from the upper area of the tooth, they will then have to focus their efforts down into the roots of the tooth. To do this, root canal files will need to be used. Root canal files are small instruments that are various sizes, so that they can fit deep down into the canals of the tooth. It is important that the files vary in diameter so that the different size roots can be thoroughly cleaned and the decay and infection located deep within the roots can be removed. After the decay and infection has been completely removed from the root system of the tooth, the dentist usually fills the canals that he has just cleaned with a rubber filling material called gutta percha. After the canals are filled with this rubber compound, a regular filling is placed in the tooth.
After a root canal procedure, a tooth can become dry, brittle and it can easily break. Because of this, a crown (cap) is usually placed on the tooth to properly restore it. The cost of a root canal generally averages about $800 and a crown, which is usually also required as part of the procedure, is going to cost about $900. Although the total price might seem expensive, the only other alternative to a root canal is the removal of the entire tooth. You can probably see now why it is so important to take care of your teeth in the first place. If you think you have an abscess, the sooner you can get into your dentist, the better.

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