If you suffer from severe decay in one of your teeth, a dentist may offer to repair it with a root canal treatment. But if you don't think it's in your best interest to save the tooth, you might choose to extract it instead. Although an extraction seems like the best choice right now, it may actually be the worse decision for you. Root canal treatment not only saves your tooth, the treatment can keep you from losing valuable jawbone tissue and aging prematurely. Here's what happens if you don't repair your tooth with a root canal treatment.
What Are the Consequences of Losing Your Tooth?
Although it might not seem possible, but losing even one tooth can have detrimental effects or changes on how well you age. Your cheekbones, eye sockets, and nose depend on strong jawbones to maintain their shape and structure. However, tooth loss can weaken your jawbones and cause them to shrink over time. The changes in your jaws may cause other structures in your face to shrink as well. Some of the first changes you can experience are thinner cheekbones and a smaller chin. Your facial skin might also sag or wrinkle.
In addition, tooth loss affects the positions and stability of your other teeth. All of your teeth depend on each other to stay upright and functional in your mouth. If a dentist removes your tooth, it'll leave behind an empty space or socket.
Teeth sitting on either side of the empty socket will gradually move, or shift, to fill in the space. The movement can cause your traveling teeth to tilt or lean in their sockets. Shifting teeth can eventually disrupt your bite and cause problems with your ability to chew food.
Now that you know why it's important to save your tooth, you can take steps to do so.
What Can You Do For Your Tooth?
It's essential that you maintain good oral hygiene until you see a dentist for your root canal treatment. You want to brush and floss your teeth as you normally do to help keep the infection from spreading or getting worse. If your tooth does hurt when you brush or floss it, rinse your mouth in warm salt water instead.
Once your dental appointment arrives, a dentist will take X-rays of your jaw to see if the infection has traveled beyond the tooth. If the infection has spread, you may need to take antibiotics to clear it up. If the infection hasn't spread, a dentist will numb the treatment area, then clean and fill your tooth.
Some providers place artificial caps, or crowns, over teeth treated by root canal. A crown can prevent new decay from developing in your tooth. It's essential that you brush and floss the crown daily to keep it healthy and functional.
If you have concerns about your root canal treatment or would like to learn more about it, contact a dentist, like David B Anderson, DDS, PC, for more information.