I have had a lump above one of my teeth for a while. My dentist calls it a chronic abscess and says I can either try a root canal treatment, which has about a 70% success rate or extract the tooth. I sort of hate the idea of going through a root canal treatment, especially if it won’t have that great of a chance of doing anything. At the same time, I’m not sure if taking my tooth out is the right way to go either. I went to get a second opinion from another dentist and he said it could just be a cyst. Now I’m not sure what to do. This has been here for a while as my dentist has kept and eye on it for over three years and I am really worried we’ve left a cyst there.
It would be very rare for this to be a cyst. Yes, they do happen but they are by far the exception. Most dentists go their entire career without seeing a cyst. Your first dentist called it an abscess. My bigger concern is why he has left you with a tooth infection for three years. These are laden with bacteria and have an impact on your general well being. When this is removed, don’t be surprised if you feel better in your body as well as your mouth. In some cases, they spread past the gums or jaw and lead to even more dangerous infections that can reach your heart or brain.
It is always better to get rid of a tooth infection. There is zero benefit to leaving it there and just keeping an eye on it. My recommendation is to get the root canal treatment. This gives you a chance to save the tooth, which is the ideal outcome. As for the 70% success rate he mentioned, I think that is a bit low. Maybe that is his success rate. In general, there is an 85% success rate. If you went to a root canal specialist, called an endodontist, the success rate will be higher than that.
If you were to remove the tooth, then you would also have to replace it. Not only is that not as good as having a natural tooth, it is more expensive. My recommendation is to always save as much natural tooth structure as possible. If for some reason the tooth cannot be saved and you have to remove it, the tooth replacement that is closest to having a healthy natural tooth again, is a dental implant.
This blog is brought to you by Hoffman Estates Dentist Dr. William Becker.