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Extraction, Root Canal, Or Replacement: Treatment Options for an Infected Tooth

Posted on: June 20th, 2024 | Categories: General Dentistry

When faced with the discomfort and pain of an infected tooth, it’s crucial to understand your treatment options. At North Andover Dental Partners, our team of specialized dental professionals, including an endodontist, periodontist, and prosthodontist, are equipped to offer a range of solutions tailored to your specific needs. Here, we delve into the primary treatment options available: extraction, root canal therapy, and tooth replacement.

Dentist in blue gloves performing a procedure on a female patient in a dental chair

Understanding Tooth Infections

A tooth infection occurs when bacteria invade the dental pulp, the innermost part of the tooth containing nerves and blood vessels. This can happen due to deep decay, a cracked tooth, or trauma. Symptoms often include severe toothache, swelling, and sensitivity to hot or cold. Prompt treatment is essential to prevent the infection from spreading and to preserve your oral health.

Treatment Options for an Infected Tooth

1. Root Canal Therapy

What It Is: Root canal therapy is a procedure designed to save an infected tooth. Our endodontist at North Andover Dental Partners specializes in this treatment, which involves removing the infected pulp, cleaning the root canals, sealing them to prevent further infection, and covering with a dental crown.


  • Preserves the natural tooth.
  • Alleviates pain and eliminates infection.
  • Maintains the tooth’s function and appearance.


  • Requires one or more visits.
  • The tooth will need a crown for added strength and protection.

2. Tooth Extraction

What It Is: When a tooth is severely damaged or the infection cannot be controlled, extraction might be necessary. This involves removing the tooth entirely from its socket in the bone. Our skilled periodontist ensures the procedure is as comfortable and straightforward as possible.


  • Completely removes the source of infection.
  • Quick procedure, often with immediate relief.


  • Leaves a gap that may need to be addressed to prevent shifting of other teeth.
  • Follow-up treatment might be necessary to replace the missing tooth.

3. Tooth Replacement Options

After an extraction, or if a tooth is missing for any reason, replacing the tooth is crucial for maintaining dental function and aesthetics. Our prosthodontist offers several replacement options:

a. Dental Implants: A dental implant is a titanium post surgically placed into the jawbone, serving as a stable foundation for a crown. Implants mimic natural teeth in function and appearance and help preserve jawbone health.

b. Dental Bridges: A bridge is a dental restoration that fills the gap left by a missing tooth. It consists of one or more artificial teeth anchored by crowns on adjacent natural teeth.

c. Dentures: Partial or complete dentures are removable appliances that replace missing teeth. They are custom-made to fit comfortably and restore your smile. If done for just one tooth, it’s often called a ‘flipper’ tooth.

Benefits of Replacement:

  • Restores chewing and speaking abilities.
  • Prevents other teeth from shifting.
  • Enhances overall appearance and confidence.


  • Dental implants require sufficient bone density and a longer healing time.
  • Bridges and dentures may need adjustments and replacements over time.
  • Bridges and dentures do not engage the bone under the gums at the site of the missing tooth which could lead to bone resorption.

Choosing the Right Treatment for an Infected Tooth

Deciding on the best treatment for an infected tooth depends on various factors, including the extent of the infection, the health of surrounding teeth and gums, and your personal preferences. At North Andover Dental Partners, our comprehensive approach ensures you receive the most appropriate and effective care.

During your consultation, our specialists will conduct a thorough examination and discuss all possible treatment options. We are committed to providing personalized care that aligns with your dental health goals and lifestyle.

At North Andover Dental Partners, we understand the importance of a healthy, pain-free smile. Whether you need a root canal, an extraction, or a tooth replacement, our team of experts is here to guide you through every step of the process. Don’t let an infected tooth compromise your well-being—contact us today to schedule an appointment and explore the best treatment options for your dental health.

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The information presented here is not intended or implied to be medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It should be used for informational purposes only.