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What to do with an Infected Tooth?

An Infected Tooth – To Keep or not to Keep?

Part 2.

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Continuing from yesterday: So the major question is this: is it possible to remove 100% of the bacteria in an infection?

The answer: yes, it is possible to do so. Many oral surgery textbooks will write that the only way to fully remove an infection of the root is by extracting the tooth. By this tenet, holistic dentists recommend extracting an infected tooth or root-treated tooth on the fundamental logic that it is the only way to fully eliminate the bacteria. Not only is the extraction important, but the curettage that comes after that.

A major source of bacteria is the tooth itself. However, the surrounding tissues and bone will also be colonised by bacteria and it is important to carefully remove all the soft infected tissues. In layman’s terms, holistic dentists will scrape at soft bone and soft tissues until solid bone is felt.

This has twofold advantage: the physical removal of infected tissues removes a large portion of the bacteria itself and reduces the strain on the immune system, which indirectly allows rapid healing of the socket. Before you jump to the conclusion that holistic dentists are some trigger-happy dentists that go about taking teeth out willy-nilly, rest assured that there are more considerations and planning involved.

How do you fill the gap in the short-term? What are the long-term solutions?

There are 3 main methods of replacing missing teeth: dentures, bridges and implants. Depending on the location, replacement of teeth plays an important function. If it is in the front, replacing the missing teeth is for aesthetic purposes. If it is at the back of the mouth, replacing the missing teeth aims to prevent the loss of tooth support which can give rise to a slanted bite and also affect surrounding structures such as the jaw joint. The bottom line is that the recommendation to extract infected teeth (past or present) is in consideration of patients’ overall health.

Furthermore, the duty of care of a holistic dentist does not end at taking out the teeth, but also involve forward planning of the replacement of missing teeth. If you have any concerns regarding an infected tooth, we are more than happy to speak to you about it.

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