Root Canal Infection and Tooth Loss: How to Restore Your Smile By Thomas G. Zarger Jr., D.D.S. on April 04, 2021

digital illustration of the teeth and root systemWhen it builds in the mouth, bacteria can eat away at tooth enamel, compromising the health and structure of the smile. Without treatment, bacteria can reach the pulp of the tooth, which contains nerves and other sensitive tissues. This can lead to a root canal infection.

Root canal infections are a leading cause of tooth loss. Dr. Thomas G. Zarger offers treatment to eliminate root canal infection and restore the smiles of his Knoxville, TN, Maryville, TN, and Oak Ridge, TN, patients. If a root canal infection results in tooth loss, he offers tooth loss treatments, including dental implants, to rebuild the smile and restore oral health, function, and aesthetics.

How a Root Canal Infection Can Lead to Tooth Loss

A root canal infection affects the innermost layers of the tooth. When an infection develops, it compromises the nerves and roots of the tooth, as well as the supporting bone structure. If enough of the tooth’s supportive structure is damaged, the tooth may either fall out on its own or require an extraction. The most common reasons that a root canal infection can result in tooth loss include:

  • An oral abscess - An abscess is a pocket of pus that can form on an infected tooth. Sometimes an abscess ruptures, which may lead to advanced root canal infection and tooth loss.
  • Bone deterioration - If a root canal infection goes untreated, infection can spread to the bone surrounding the tooth. If the bone structure is compromised, the tooth will lack support and is likely to be lost.
  • Advanced infection - Like any other type of infection, a root canal infection will spread without treatment. As infection spreads to surrounding tissues and structures, tooth loss becomes more likely.

Preventing Tooth Loss from Root Canal Infection

Root canal infections can be damaging, but they don’t have to result in tooth loss. If a root canal infection is treated before it becomes too far advanced, the infection can be eliminated without extracting the tooth. To treat root canal infection, patients must undergo root canal therapy.

During root canal therapy infected tissues are removed from the tooth. The inside of the tooth and the length of the root canals are cleaned to remove any remaining bacteria. After cleaning the tooth, it is filled with a rubber-like compound. Finally, the tooth is fitted with a dental crown. The dental crown further strengthens the tooth and provides a layer of protection to block out bacteria and prevent a future infection.

Rebuilding the Smile if Tooth Loss Occurs

If a root canal infection does lead to tooth loss, the smile can still be restored. Dr. Zarger offers many restorative dentistry treatments for tooth loss, including dental implants. If patients have sufficient bone structure to support dental implants, this is often the preferred method of treatment.

Dental implants rebuild the smile by replacing both the crown and roots of a lost tooth. Because dental implants are placed in the jawbone, they provide superior comfort and support to dental restorations. They are also the only tooth loss treatment that stimulates the bone tissues and prevents degeneration, making them the closest replica to the natural teeth.

Schedule a Consultation

If dental damage or infection has compromised your smile, Dr. Thomas G. Zarger can customize a dental treatment plan to restore oral health. To learn more about the restorative dentistry treatments that are available at our practice, schedule a consultation online, or call (865) 693-7631 at your earliest convenience.

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Dr. Thomas G. Zarger, Jr., DDS Family Dentistry in Knoxville

Our practice has provided skilled and compassionate dentistry for patients in the Knoxville, TN, community for over 30 years. Dr. Zarger is a member of:

  • American Dental Association
  • Second District Dental Society
  • Tennessee Dental Association
  • American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry

We strive to make care convenient and affordable to all patients and accept CareCredit financing to help reduce the cost of treatment. Schedule your consultation today online, or by calling (865) 693-7631.

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