Once the inside of a tooth has become infected, your choices are limited. You could choose to delay treatment, you could choose to have the tooth extracted, or you could choose to save your tooth with root canal treatment.
The problem with delaying treatment is that an infected tooth will never heal on its own, and this can lead to some very serious problems. As the infection spreads down the tooth and into your jawbone, the pain may become excruciating. It could even put you in the hospital and threaten your life.
An extraction is only a short-term solution. While it does remove the source of infection, it sets off a chain reaction of shifting teeth and other dental problems.
The only way to save your tooth and keep it in your mouth is to remove the infection with root canal treatment. If the tooth decay or infection has destroyed enough tooth structure to prevent restoration an extraction may be inevitable.
Reasons that merit a tooth extraction
The most common reason for an extraction is tooth damage due to breakage or decay. There are additional reasons for tooth extractions:
- Severe tooth decay or infection
- Extra teeth which are blocking other teeth from coming in.
- Severe gum disease which may affect the supporting tissues and bone structures of teeth
- In preparation for orthodontic treatment
- Fractured teeth
- Insufficient space for wisdom teeth (impacted third molars)