What To Do When You Have a Dental Abscess

If a tooth has a dental abscess, the options are to do root canal treatment or to extract the tooth. If untreated the infection can spread to other areas of the body.

Root Canal Treatment

If a tooth has an infected pulp a new filling or crown will not treat the serious underlying problem. During root canal treatment the infected pulp is removed, the canal area is carefully cleaned and shaped, then a filling material seals the space. Afterwards a crown or other restoration is placed to protect and restore it to full function. The tooth will then continue to function like any other tooth.


The cost of an extraction might seem attractive compared to the cost of root canal treatment. But extracting the tooth is unlikely to be the most desirable or even the cheapest choice in the long run. When a tooth is missing, the adjacent teeth can be expected to shift, sometimes significantly. Even losing a single tooth can alter one’s chewing ability and effect their jaw joint. Teeth that shift can also be difficult to clean and therefore be at greater risk for tooth decay or periodontal disease.

Replacing an Extracted Tooth

It will usually be recommended by your dentist for an extracted tooth to be replaced with an artificial one. Options for replacement include bridges, implants, or partials. While these options can provide a long lasting end result, they can usually cost as much or more than saving the tooth.


If a tooth can be saved by performing root canal treatment, that is the treatment of choice. Its always best to keep your natural teeth. Root canal treatment has a very high success rate and many root canal treated teeth last a lifetime.

At Foust Family Dental Care we use the latest technology called Rotary Endodontics. This makes root canal treatment much less time consuming, often being completed in one appointment instead of two with traditional treatment. Rotary Endodontics also gives the root canal treated tooth a better, more predictable outcome.

There is no need to suffer with a toothache, if you have a tooth that is bothering you call our West Des Moines office. We see people with discomfort promptly.

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