Potential Dental Treatments For An Infected Second Molar With Pulp Damage

Posted on: 4 January 2017

The second molar teeth are located just in front of the wisdom tooth's spot. The second molars are the last grinding force that can make food small enough to swallow. An infected second molar can cause pain while chewing and cause that pain to radiate through the back of your mouth, which can cause you to think the problem is the wisdom tooth if it has yet to erupt.

An infected second molar that isn't treated can lead to damage in the pulp, or the material that carries blood, tissue, and nerve cells throughout the tooth to promote growth and health. There are a few ways your general or family dentist can treat a severely infected second molar with pulp damage depending on the severity of pulp damage.

Root Canal and Dental Crown

The pulp travels through the tooth's central root canal system so the dentist needs to remove all of the infected and damaged pulp to give the canal a shot at healing. The pulp removal happens during a root canal procedure or root canal therapy.

Root canal therapy is a general dental treatment that requires the dentist to drill into the tooth's upper dentin layer to gain access to the pulp chamber at the peak of the canal. A thin tool is slid through the hole and into the canal to scrape out the pulp without damaging the canal walls. The canal is then cleansed with an antibiotic risk and bolstered with an expanding bio-foam that will hold the canal empty until the infection is cleared and healthy pulp can enter.

The dentist will then need to close off the access hole to protect your tooth. A dental crown made of porcelain or metal-backed porcelain is cemented onto the outside of the tooth to close the hole and provide an added source of protection for the dentin.

Dental Extraction with Bridge or Implant Replacement

Damaged pulp isn't always reversible. If the infection caused the pulp to become so inflamed it died, the tooth isn't recoverable and will require extraction. The loss of a second molar isn't as problematic as losing some of the more forward teeth, which can cause bite issues and cosmetic concerns. But the loss of the molar without a follow-up dental replacement can still cause chewing issues and jawbone loss.

One quick and easy dental replacement is the dental bridge, which typically includes two dental crowns that flank the artificial tooth and cement to the natural teeth on each side of the missing tooth. But a second tooth often doesn't have a natural tooth to its rear since few people have a healthily erupted wisdom tooth. But there is a bridge alternative called a cantilever bridge that has the two crowns on the same side of the artificial tooth and that can work on a second molar if you still have your first molar and second premolar available for capping.

A stronger dental replacement option is the dental implant. The implant has a metal root that goes into the jawbone, promotes jawbone health, and receives strength and support from the bone healing around the grooves in the root. The implants have a lengthy treatment process due to all the bone healing, but having an empty second molar space for a bit isn't as problematic as with other teeth.