When a tooth becomes damaged or infected, two potential treatment options include root canal or tooth extraction. Which option is the right choice? How do you know what treatment is best for your oral health? Fully understanding both of these methods, how they work, and when they’re used can help you better determine which option is right for you.
Root Canals Help Save Your Tooth
A root canal is an endodontic procedure that can be used to save teeth with dead, diseased, or damaged pulp. The pulp is the inner layer of the tooth that offers healthy blood flow. However, if you have a deep cavity or a tooth is cracked, it’s possible for that pulp to become damaged. Additionally, bacteria from the mouth can enter the inside of the tooth and cause an infection, swelling, or the death of the pulp’s tissue.
A root canal involves removing the dead or damaged pulp. Then, the inside of your tooth is cleaned out thoroughly to ensure no bacteria is left behind.
After cleaning, it’s filled with a material that replaces the pulp, so your tooth is able to function as it did before. A crown is usually placed on the tooth to improve the appearance and offer more strength to the tooth structure.
Many people worry about having a root canal because they’ve heard it’s painful. However, most people actually experience little to no pain during the procedure. In addition, root canals are very safe. In some cases, you could experience a little bit of pain for a couple of days after the procedure, but most people only need an over-the-counter painkiller to alleviate the discomfort.
Tooth Extractions: Only Used as a Last Resort
A root canal is always the best option for a tooth that has damaged, diseased, or dead pulp. Saving your natural tooth should always be the priority. However, tooth extractions are used as a last resort when nothing can be done to save a tooth. This can occur when the tooth is too damaged and there isn’t enough supporting tooth structure to do a root canal.
A tooth extraction begins by your dentist numbing the area, so you have little to no discomfort. The tooth is loosened and then pulled out. Since your gums will likely bleed after the extraction, you’ll be given a piece of gauze to bite down on for some time to help your blood clot. A bit of swelling may occur after a tooth extraction, and you’ll probably want to stick with soft foods for a day or two. Just remember, it can take a bit of time for that area to heal, so you need to brush gently around the extraction site.
Root Canals – Always the Best Choice
A root canal is always a better choice than extraction because it fixes your natural tooth so you can keep it. However, there are instances when you may need a tooth extraction as a last resort. Then, you’ll need to work with your dentist to determine how to best replace the tooth that was lost.
If you’re not sure which procedure is right for you, it’s a good idea to consult with your endodontist. They’ll help you understand the pros and cons of having a root canal and can give you the best advice on which procedure will work best for your tooth. The main goal is to keep your smile healthy and beautiful, and an endodontist will help you make a decision based on this goal. If you think you may need a root canal, contact Ballantyne Endodontics today to set up your appointment.