The first step is to evaluate your tooth to understand why it’s condition is poor — which the most common reasons are from tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease. Although different diagnoses, tooth decay and gum disease begin with bacteria in the mouth and can both lead to tooth loss.
Millions of harmless bacteria are present in your mouth consistently. There are a few strains that live in dental plaque on a thin “biofilm” on your teeth, that can cause disease. As they feed on sugar bound to teeth, they convert the sugar to produce acid, which can erode the protective enamel on teeth. This can cause the formation of cavities, which must be cleaned and filled with safe dental material to fix.
If decay is left untreated, it spreads deep within the pulp and through the root canals. When decay spreads deeper, your tooth is in more danger. Your tooth may be able to be saved with a root canal treatment. In this common procedure, we access the pulp chamber and clean out all the diseased or dead tissue. Then, the empty chamber is filled with sterile dental material and root canals with a gutta percha filling, then sealed. We later cap the tooth with a new crown to further protect it.
Dental plaque triggers chronic inflammation if gum disease is present. The inflammation can cause the gums to weaken and detach from the teeth to form large voids called periodontal pockets, which can fill with infection. This could lead to bone deterioration, causing the tooth to become mobile and loose.
By removing plaque stuck to the surface, we can help fix your tooth. Plaque may be fueling the infection you’re experiencing. We normally do this with special hand instruments, but in special cases, surgical instruments may need to be used. After successfully removing plaque off the teeth surfaces and below the gum line, inflammation should calm, giving the tissues a chance to heal and rebind to teeth. Depending on severity, we may also need to assist the tissues to regenerate through gum or bone grafting.
You may be able to save your natural teeth through oral care efforts and treatment options. Saving your natural smile yields the most benefits to your overall dental and bone health, so your Scottsdale Dentist will present you all possible treatment options before removing a tooth. Sometimes, however, it may be the best option to remove a tooth.
We are always willing to help you learn more about your treatment options. You can also learn more about saving teeth vs. placing implants by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Save a Tooth or Get an Implant?”