A guide from your dentist on what it is and what to expect.
If your dentist tells you that you need a pulp extirpation, you probably won’t know what that is unless you’re in the dental industry yourself. Pulp extirpation is an essential part of having a root canal treatment and it’s a fairly common, simple and effective procedure. If you have an infected tooth, here’s what to expect.
What is the Pulp?
The pulp is the soft tissue inside the hard outer shell of your tooth. It includes blood vessels and nerves and supplies the tooth with blood and nutrients to keep it alive. When you have a sore tooth or sense a cold ice cream, it’s this part of the tooth that’s actually registering the sensation. The outside of your tooth, the parts you can see, are hard, dead tissue. The pulp also contains small lymph nodes that carry white blood cells to the tooth to help it fight off infection. However, when these efforts fail and the tooth becomes too infected to fix, you will need a root canal treatment and pulp extirpation.
This type of infection is a very common reason why people must make an emergency trip to their dentist because of a toothache. So, if you want to avoid this situation, make sure you have regular check-ups and get any damage or infection seen to as soon as possible.
Why Do You Need Pulp Extirpation?
If your dentist tells you that you need a pulp extirpation, it means that the pulp of your tooth is too badly damaged or infected to fix. This can be caused by:
Deep dental decay.
Advanced gum disease.
Severe cracks in your tooth.
Teeth grinding (bruxism).
Trauma that causes damage to the tooth.
Decay under a deep filling.
By performing a pulp extirpation, your dentist can remove the infected or damaged soft tissue inside your tooth. The empty space is then filled with a permanent barrier material. This saves the tooth and removes the pain and discomfort of the infection or damage. Once the area has healed, the tooth will function and be just as strong as your other teeth except that it’s dead, so it won’t hurt anymore.
Do You Need a Pulp Extirpation?
Your dentist will obviously be able to tell you if you need a pulp extirpation treatment. However, here are some of the symptoms you may experience when there is too much pulp damage:
Severe ongoing pain.
Swelling of the gum around the tooth.
Oozing pus around the tooth.
The tooth becomes loose.
Your tooth becomes more sensitive to hot and cold.
Pain when chewing or biting.
If you experience these symptoms, or if your dentist tells you that you need the pulp of your tooth removed, it’s important that you don’t delay the treatment. This could result in the spread of the infection through the mouth or down into the bone, where it can erode the jaw bone. It may also result in the loss of the tooth, which can cause a variety of long-term problems.
Pulp Extirpation Procedure
A pulp extirpation will be performed as part of your root canal treatment. Here are the basic steps for this procedure:
The tooth is numbed using a local anaesthetic.
Using a laser, your dentist will drill a small hole in the crown of your tooth.
The pulp extirpation is performed, using a small instrument to remove the infected pulp through the hole in your tooth.
The inside of the tooth is cleaned.
The root canal filling is put into place.
The tooth is sealed, and a crown put on top.
Once the anaesthetic has worn off, your tooth should feel like it’s back to normal. The pain will be gone, though there may be some lingering tenderness as everything heals. But once it’s healed, you’ll probably forget you even had the procedure done.
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