Deciding between a root canal and tooth extraction is usually a tough decision to make for most patients. Several factors may come into play, such as the impact of the treatment on your oral health, cost, and risks.
In this post, we will discuss the benefits of root canal vs. extraction to help you get an in-depth understanding of how they can help you.
Saving your tooth vs. pulling it altogether
As soon as the decay-causing bacteria reach your tooth pulp, you become susceptible to throbbing tooth pain and tooth abscess or infection. The decayed tooth pulp must be removed to alleviate the pain and prevent the bacteria from spreading to your gums and jaw bone.
To remove the decayed and infected tooth pulp, your dentist will give you two options, root canal or extraction. Root canal therapy is a treatment that will allow you to save the tooth structure and only remove the decayed tooth pulp, nerves, and blood vessels. Your dentist will cover the surface of your tooth with fillings and recommend a dental crown to protect the weak tooth.
A tooth extraction on the other hand, will pull all of your tooth structure from the roots to its infected parts. The pain and swelling will subside. However, it is recommended to replace your missing tooth with a bridge or dental implant as soon as possible. Replacing your missing tooth can save you from the following complications:
- Crooked or misaligned teeth
- Chewing difficulties
- Jaw and bite problems
- Bone loss
- Facial collapse
- Speech problems
- Overeruption of the adjacent tooth
How does a root canal work?
If you choose to have root canal therapy, your dentist will first assess your tooth through an x-ray to see the extent of the damage. Your dentist will create an opening on the crown of your tooth to access the infected tooth pulp and remove it. During the procedure, there will be an anesthetic to numb the area and relieve the pain.
Your dentist will use a small tool inside your tooth to remove the damaged tissues and blood vessels. Your dentist will then sanitize and clean the tooth to prevent further infection. Once it’s clean, your dentist will place sanitized fillings to replace your tooth roots.
To cover your tooth, your dentist will heat a sealing material to seal off the fillings and place a filling on top of cement. The filling will be based on the color of your tooth to make it look like you never had tooth decay before.
Since your tooth has no nerves, you will no longer feel any sensitivity and pain. However, this also means that your tooth will no longer have a supply of calcium and other nutrients it needs to stay sturdy. Your dentist will recommend a dental crown after your root canal to further protect your weak natural tooth.
What makes you qualify for a root canal treatment?
Your dentist will consider your tooth as viable for root canal therapy if:
- the tooth has an adequate bone support
- the tooth roots are intact
- the majority of the tooth structure can still be restored
Root Canal vs. Extraction: Comparing the benefits
Tooth extraction eliminates the pain and infection as your dentist removes your damaged tooth. The extraction cost is usually less expensive and does not require additional dental services after the extraction. The only downside in choosing an extraction is you need to replace your teeth as soon as possible to prevent any problems associated with a missing tooth.
As for root canal therapy, you get to save your tooth and go back to your old routine without too many lifestyle adjustments. You can chew, talk, and smile like you used to. However, it is necessary to have a dental crown over the affected tooth to protect it from further damage, which may cost more. It also becomes crucial for you to have more stringent dental care like professional cleanings and checkups from time to time to monitor the treated tooth.
When comparing root canal and extraction is not an option
As much as possible, your dentist aims to save your natural teeth. However, in some cases, the tooth is already beyond repair. Extraction is the only option if your condition is any of the following:
- The cracks on the tooth run to the tooth roots.
- There’s nothing much left on the tooth structure to support the force of chewing and biting.
- There is not enough bone support that can keep the tooth in place.
Consult the expertise of your dentist in Matthews, NC
If the benefits of a root canal sound pleasing to you, your dental condition will still be the basis of the best treatment for you. Every patient has a different healing capacity and tooth and bone structure. Let Dr. Harish Patel and Dr. Stacey Alston guide you with the differences between root canal vs. extraction to get the most suitable solution for your dental condition.