How to Protect Your Teeth

Dental Treatments for an Infected Cuspid Tooth with Pulp Damage

The cuspids or canines are the pointed teeth toward the front of your mouth that tear into the food you're trying to chew. A severely infected cuspid tooth will cause discomfort and can cause pulp damage. Reversible pulp damage is treatable in your general- or family-dentistry office, but severe pulp damage can lead to the death of your cuspid tooth and extraction.

What are the treatment options and follow-up procedures available for a severely infected cuspid tooth that has suffered pulp damage?

Root Canal, Apicoectomy, and Dental Crown

The infected and damaged pulp needs to be removed as soon as possible to minimize the risk of pulp death and the death of your tooth. Your general or family dentist can remove the infected pulp with a standard root-canal procedure. The extremely long roots on the cuspid might also require a follow-up apicoectomy procedure to remove any infection from the tips or apexes of the roots.

A standard root canal involves the dentist drilling into the tooth, using a special tool to clean out the pulp in the root canal, a quick canal rinse with antibiotic wash, and then the insertion of an expanding foam that will temporarily hold the canal empty so the infection can clear and the canal walls can strengthen. The bio-foam will dissolve and allow healthy pulp back into the canal after some time.

If the infection occurs again after the root-canal procedure, an apicoectomy is probably required to remove the infection deep into the roots that aren't reached during the standard procedure. The dentist will cut through soft tissue and bone to reach the root tips, snip off the ends, and then rinse and seal off the remaining root tips with the same wash and bio-foam used in the canal.

The dentist will need to shut the top of the tooth with the access drill hole to prevent new infection from occurring. The tooth will be covered with a dental crown, perhaps one made of porcelain or metal-backed porcelain, to close the hole.

Extraction and Bridge or Implant

Dental pulp can become so damaged it dies and fails to produce new healthy pulp to refill the tooth and its canal. Dead pulp will lead to the death of the tooth, which can in turn cause jawbone and soft-tissue damage to the surrounding area. Your dentist will schedule an extraction of the cuspid as soon as tooth death looks unavoidable.

You can't leave the tooth-hole empty. A missing cuspid will create bite issues, look obvious when you smile, and cause the underlying jawbone to start deteriorating. A dental-replacement option can help with some or all of those problems.

A bridge is a quick, easily installed dental-replacement option suitable if you have healthy natural teeth on each side of the extracted cuspid. The bridge has a center artificial tooth supported by two flanking dental crowns that the dentist will cement to those natural teeth. The end result looks decent but isn't as durable as a dental implant. But bridges are removable and a decent choice for those who can't receive a dental implant at the moment.

Dental implants have a metal root that inserts into the jawbone and becomes healed into place by bone fusion. An artificial tooth snaps to the top for a natural looking and feeling replacement that will also stimulate bone health.

Talk to a company such as Dental Services Of Rochester to learn more.