A tooth infection is one of the most painful sensations most of us will ever experience. The best way to get over the discomfort is to go to a walk-in dentist as soon as possible. If, by any chance, you live in Palatine, IL, you could handle any dental emergency at Clock Tower Dentistry, or any of the nearest dental offices that offer a range of infection treatment methods. That being said, we are also aware that most people are apprehensive at the thought of seeking emergency dental services.
Too often, we see patients who are deathly afraid of simple procedures like root canals. But is there a way to avoid having to remove the pulpy core of an infected tooth? The answer to that question is: sure — but only in some cases. Still, if you want to know how to cure tooth infection without root canal treatment, you’ve come to the right place.
Now, before we talk about root canal procedures, we should explain how people get tooth infections. Usually, it has to do with improper dental hygiene, which encourages bacteria to eat through the hard surface of our teeth. Once that happens, getting past the dentine, the soft material under the enamel, into the root of the tooth is only a matter of time.
That’s also why we need to address issues like an occasional cracked or broken tooth as they occur. Not treating a chipped tooth is basically an invitation for bacteria to get through the porous dentine and to the sensitive pulpy core it surrounds.
Table of Contents
The Life Cycle of a Tooth Infection
The most worrying thing about toothaches is that they usually start once the bacteria burrow through to the core of our teeth. After all, the pulpy core of the tooth is full of nerve endings and blood vessels. So it’s the only part of the tooth that can actually register pain. Therefore, having a painful tooth infection is usually a sign that the bacteria have already wreaked havoc on our teeth.
Putting up with discomfort for days or weeks at a time — as many do — only lets the infection spread to the surrounding teeth and into the jaw. Eventually, it’ll cause abscesses, or pockets of pus, near the roots of the tooth, which would then have to be manually drained. At that point, even an emergency dentist appointment may not be able to save the tooth the infection originated from.
Why Are Root Canals Such Excellent Solutions for Tooth Infections?
Fortunately, we can avoid all of that by getting a root canal treatment. The routine procedure starts with a dentist drilling into the tooth to remove all parts affected by physical trauma or bacteria. Once the tooth is open, the dentist uses a cleaning file to pull out the contents of the pulp chamber and the canals that lead down the root of the tooth.
After extracting the decayed and infected tissue, the dentist disinfects the inside of the tooth. In cases of extreme infections, they might apply medication that usually needs to sit in the chamber for about a week. Lastly, they fill in the gap, topping the tooth off with a crown. Ultimately, this procedure allows us to keep the infected tooth in our mouth without ever having to experience pain again.
“Homework, root canals, and deadlines are the important things in life, and only when we have these major dramas taken care of can we presume to look at the larger questions.” — Cynthia Heimel
Why Some People Opt Out of Root Canal Procedures
Now, we’re not here to discuss the benefits of getting a root canal. So let’s focus on why some people might want to avoid this treatment instead.
Most people would tell you that they’re afraid of the pain. However, that’s not a good reason to be apprehensive in this case. Thanks to modern advancements in dentistry, root canal treatments can be completely painless. To begin with, most dentists would numb the area they’re working on while they drill through the enamel and dentine.
As we know, the tools can only hurt if they hit the nerve endings in the core of the tooth. Most dentists can get around that by opening the first two layers and applying a nerve block that needs to sit in the tooth for about a week. Then, when they go in to perform the root canal, they can extract the pulp without causing pain.
Still, one can never be sure that the tooth is completely free of bacteria, blood vessels, and nerve endings. All that organic matter can rot and cause even more bacterial growth later down the line. Moreover, if the filling and crown are installed incorrectly, the patient could still develop a tooth infection. And even if the dentist does everything right, the materials they use to fill and cap the tooth will ultimately be more brittle than real teeth.
How to Cure Tooth Infection Without Root Canal Procedures
Taking into account both the benefits and the disadvantages of root canal treatments, let’s discuss some alternatives we might try. To begin with, we should talk about the different home remedies that might alleviate the symptoms of a tooth infection.
For one, you can make mouth rinses by mixing water with salt, baking soda, or hydrogen peroxide. Alternatively, you could apply oil treatments to the affected area.
Oregano, thyme, and clove essential oils have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that might come in handy. Just remember to dilute whichever essential oil you choose in a carrier oil before applying the treatment. You can use garlic paste in a similar way by rubbing a crushed clove on your gums.
But what are some of the options for emergency dental care we might turn to instead of getting a root canal? Well, taking the tooth clean out is always on the table. However, dentists generally won’t suggest this unless the tooth is compromised beyond redemption.
As we have established, root canal treatments are done to preserve as much of the natural tooth as possible. A tooth extraction might cause other teeth to shift, so keeping the tooth in holds the spot in the jaw. Of course, if you do opt to remove the tooth in question, a denture could perform that function instead. Just keep in mind that it probably won’t look as good as your regular tooth or even a crown.
Should You Treat Your Tooth Infection at Home or Visit a Dentist?
Even if this article hasn’t taught you how to cure tooth infection without root canal treatments, the solutions we’ve mentioned should postpone the inevitable by a few days, at least. But painkillers and cold compresses aren’t permanent answers to your problem. So if you’re having a tooth emergency, get to a dental clinic as soon as possible.