Deciding Between A Root Canal And Tooth Extraction

At the mention of the phrase "root canal," your mind may conjure up unpleasant images of a long, painful dental procedure. However, today's root canal involves little pain, and dentists are able to split some procedures over multiple visits. Root canals are typically performed as an alternative to a complete tooth extraction; understanding the advantages and disadvantages of your each procedure helps you pick the procedure best for your dental health.

Why a Root Canal is Often the First Line of Treatment

If the tissue around your tooth is damaged, this promotes conditions that are conducive to bacterial growth that can result in an abscessed tooth. An abscessed tooth is riddled with infection and causes severe pain. Left untreated, it can damage the tissue and supporting bones of the surrounding teeth. A root canal is a preferred treatment method because the dentist drains the abscess and cleans the interior of the tooth to eradicate infection.

Many dentists prefer a root canal because it can save the patient's tooth and promote better dental health in the future. When a tooth is lost and the space is left empty, the healthy teeth surrounding the space can change position. This shifting can change the patient's bite and make it difficult to eat. Bone loss is another common issue that occurs after a tooth is extracted.

Missing teeth can be replaced with a dental prosthesis, such as a partial bridge. However, a dental prosthesis can be expensive, even for patients who have dental insurance. A removable dental prosthesis can also cause complications with speaking and eating certain foods. Unfortunately, the alternative of leaving the space empty often leads to costly dental procedures in the future.

When a Tooth Extraction Makes Sense

Though 95 percent of root canals are successful, cases that involve a severely infected tooth may not be suitable for a root canal. If your tooth has a significant amount of infection in the root pulp, the root canal may not be a successful treatment.

If you want to replace your diseased tooth or the teeth around it, a tooth extraction makes sense for your situation. Completely removing your tooth or teeth lets your dentist fit you with a bridge, partial denture, or implant that transforms your smile.

At first mention, neither a root canal nor tooth extraction sounds appealing. However, maintaining optimal dental health is vital for preventing the need for additional costly dental problems in the future. Researching your options helps you make a decision that you are comfortable with.

For more information, contact Pinon Hills Dental or a similar location.