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What Happens When a Tooth Nerve is Infected?
When a tooth nerve becomes infected, it can lead to extreme sensitivity and pain in the affected area. Many who suffer a tooth nerve infection do not understand the cause of the infection, which makes it more difficult to treat.
Keep reading to learn your options when a tooth nerve develops an infection.
Tooth Nerve Infections
To fully understand what happens when a tooth nerve is infected, it is essential to know what the tooth nerve is and how it becomes infected. It would help if you also found out how to treat a tooth nerve infection and how to prevent a tooth nerve from becoming infected in the future.
What is a tooth nerve?
There are several different layers to the tooth, ranging from the enamel, which is the outermost layer, to the root and pulp, which is the deepest part of a tooth. The tooth nerve sits in the pulp of the tooth, deep down into the tooth. When the pulp becomes infected, it causes the tooth nerve to become infected as well.
In most cases, a tooth nerve is treatable with proper, prompt dental care. However, it is important to see a dentist anytime a tooth nerve may be infected to ensure the infection does not spread to other parts of the tooth and the mouth.
How does the tooth nerve become infected?
There are various ways a tooth nerve can become infected. Perhaps most commonly, the tooth nerve becomes infected as a result of deep tooth decay. At first, tooth decay only affects the enamel and dentin, which are the outermost layers. As it goes through the layers, the tooth nerve may become exposed to harmful bacteria, which can cause a tooth nerve infection.
Additionally, tooth nerve infections may occur due to a cracked tooth, chipped tooth or facial trauma.
What are the treatment options?
The main treatment option for a tooth nerve infection is endodontic therapy, otherwise referred to as root canal therapy. In essence, root canal therapy is performed by removing the infected pulp and replacing it with an inert material.
Root canal therapy is successful in almost every occasion. The only other alternative to root canal therapy is a tooth extraction, in which a bridge, implant or denture can replace the tooth.
How to prevent a tooth nerve infection
The best way to deal with a tooth nerve infection is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. While avoiding a tooth nerve infection can be difficult, certain precautions can to lower the chance of developing an infection.
First, be sure to practice good oral hygiene. This means you must stick to a consistent brushing schedule, floss and use mouthwash at least once a day. Do not brush too hard since an exposed gum can lead to infection. Also, avoid overeating foods and drinks that are harmful to teeth. Additionally, visiting a dentist regularly can significantly reduce the chance of suffering a tooth nerve infection.
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