Can a Dentist Pull an Infected Tooth?
Dentists are no stranger to pulling teeth - that comes with the job. However, depending on your tooth's condition, it might have some of them second-guessing whether to remove it from your mouth. These dilemmas arise when dentists are faced with an infected tooth. Most folks would naturally assume pulling an infected tooth would be in a patient's best interest and solve the oral issue instantly.
Yet, there are important factors to consider with an infected tooth before assuming a dentist can pull it out. Check out what circumstances would require a dentist to pull your teeth and in other instances where they can't.
What's Considered an Infected Tooth?
There are various ways a tooth can get infected. It can stem from an untreated cavity, a tooth injury, or prior dental work (typically root canals) resulting in infection inside or under your teeth. What you can expect from an infected tooth is that it affects the pulp area of your tooth the most - which is made up of nerves, blood, vessels, and connective tissue.
People who have suffered from an infected tooth can attest to symptoms of extreme pain, visible swelling, pus coming from the infected area, and dental x-rays revealing visibly damaged roots.
What Happens if Left Untreated?
An untreated infected tooth can lead to various health issues beyond your oral health. Since an infected tooth runs rampant in the pulp area, it can spread the infection to other parts of your body like your jaw, head, or neck. If left untreated for too long, the infection may reach other parts such as the jaw, head, or neck. The worst-case scenario of an untreated infected tooth can result in possible brain damage and even become life-threatening.
How is an Infected Tooth Treated?
Since an infected tooth can occur in various ways, they need to be treated on a case-to-case basis depending on its severity. But for the most part, dentists' first course of action is to either try draining the infection through a root canal or remove the tooth completely.
However, only draining the infection will not be enough if the infection reaches your nerves since it's beyond repair at that point. In these cases, that's when it's necessary to pull out an infected tooth. There are some conditional exceptions to an infected tooth being pulled. Dentists advise against removing an infected tooth when someone has excessive swelling to their face or stretched out oral tissue. In this instance, draining out the infection before and after pulling out an infected tooth is best to eliminate future infections from returning.
Ultimately, getting rid of the infected tooth is the best route, alongside ensuring proper drainage of the infection once the procedure is done.
Who Gets Rid of an Infected Tooth?
You can expect almost any dental clinic to be equipped to handle treating an infected tooth. If anything, they're the first dental professional you want to turn to once symptoms begin to appear. However, as mentioned before, an infected tooth varies in severity and might need specialized treatment.
For example, if your infected tooth has a complex root canal system, you may need to see an endodontist instead. A regular dentist can have limited knowledge of dental pulp, which might not be useful in getting to the root of the infection and treating it appropriately. Meanwhile, an endodontist's specialty involves knowing and treating specific, obscure issues concerning dental pulp that affect the nerves of your tooth.
It's never good to leave an infected tooth to fester in your mouth. An infected tooth can leave you with many health issues and can become life-threatening. When treating an infected tooth, it's imperative to treat the root of the infection - which can vary case by case. An infected tooth can only really be pulled properly once the infection is drained as much as possible, even after the procedure is done. Depending on the severity of your infected tooth, a dentist can easily treat it themselves if capable or be able to see how bad the damage is before referring you to an endodontist. In which case, seeing a dentist should be your first line of defence in beginning treatment for your infected tooth.