You’ve had a toothache for a while now. Even though it has probably only been a few days, it feels like forever has passed since your mouth has been pain-free. It has kept you from living your life to the fullest, since you can’t even smile without serious pain. You’re starting to think that the tooth might have to be pulled, since there’s no way it can be saved at this point, right? Wrong. There are alternatives to tooth extractions out there. Let’s look at some of them.
Reasons Why You Might Have a Toothache
Toothaches are a lot more common than you might think. The most frequent reason behind them is good old-fashioned tooth decay, also known as cavities. Cavities occur when bacteria feast on leftover food particles in your mouth and erode at your enamel, or the outermost layer of your teeth. Eventually, the bacteria can reach the sensitive inner layer of the tooth, known as the dental pulp, where the nerves and blood vessels are located. At that point, it causes extreme pain.
Another reason you might have a toothache is if you have a tooth fracture. A chip in the tooth’s enamel might not cause any pain, but if the fracture reaches the center of the tooth, it can cause a serious toothache.
Gum disease might also be to blame. This is a bacterial infection in the gums that can cause the gums to pull away from the teeth, exposing the roots of the teeth, which are incredibly sensitive. It can also cause soreness in both your gums and your teeth.
Alternatives to Tooth Extractions
The most common alternative to a tooth extraction is root canal therapy. Although the words “root canal” might make you seize up in fear, the procedure is actually quite comfortable and nothing to be afraid of. During a root canal, your dentist removes the infected or damaged nerve from your tooth, relieving your pain.
Another solution to a toothache that doesn’t involve an extraction is to get a dental crown. This is a tooth-shaped cap that fits snugly over the tooth to restore it, both functionally and aesthetically. If your toothache is the result of a fracture, a crown might be just what you need.
Finally, if you have gum disease, your dentist can treat the problem and cure your pain with soft tissue laser treatment as well as surgical procedures. This way, your tooth pain recedes, and you increase your chances of keeping all of your teeth for life.
If you have a toothache, it doesn’t necessarily mean your tooth needs to be extracted. There are multiple alternatives to that. Just call your emergency dentist.
About the Author
Throughout his career, Dr. Johnny Cheng has taken more than 500 hours of postgraduate training with an emphasis on cosmetic dentistry. In 2006-2011, he was selected by his peers as a “Top Dentist” in Fort Worth Magazine. He has also been named Texas Monthly Super Dentists 2011. To learn more about whether your tooth needs to be extracted, visit his website or give him a call at (817) 292-5957.