Whether from a large cavity, cracked tooth, or other events, sometimes treatment involves more than cleanings and fillings. Sometimes, bacteria makes its way into your tooth’s root and inflames the pulp. When this happens, your tooth needs a more complex solution. It may be time for a root canal or tooth extraction.
Root Canal vs. Extraction: Which is Best for You?
Tooth extraction used to be much more common than it is now. People want to keep their natural teeth in place as long as possible. For this reason, root canals have grown in popularity and use. Tooth extraction, however, is still necessary sometimes.
Choosing Between the Two
Both procedures are useful in treating teeth that have become infected or damaged in some way. You may be unclear about when to use one or the other. It’s helpful to understand both methods.
Endodontic treatment, more commonly known as a root canal, is a common method of treating infected or damaged teeth. When your tooth’s root becomes inflamed by a large cavity or other irritants, performing a root canal removes the infected pulp while leaving the tooth in place. This allows you to keep your own teeth in place even when you have diseased, damaged, or dead pulp. You may experience a dull ache to acute or sharp pain for a few days, but it can be managed with painkillers. This method is relatively cheaper than tooth extraction with a dental implant.
When the tooth cannot be saved due to too much structural damage or other factors, a tooth extraction is required. The entire tooth is removed from the jaw. This is a good option if your tooth has a severe fracture. Sometimes this method is necessary even for a very large cavity that has weakened your tooth beyond repair. Your dentist will apply local anesthesia so you will feel no pain during the procedure. For more difficult extractions, general anesthesia is needed. Healing time is typically up to two weeks. The tooth extraction leaves a gap in your mouth that can cause other issues. It’s common to also have a dental implant placed to replace the missing tooth. This makes this method more expensive than a root canal.
Give your Teeth the Best Care
At the end of the day, your dentist is dedicated to preserving and protecting your teeth so you can keep them as long as possible. If you have an issue a filling can’t fix, he or she will determine which method is best for you, root canal vs. extraction, with the goal of preserving your natural teeth. To prevent the need for either of these procedures, keep up with your routine checkups and cleanings, brush your teeth at least twice a day for 2 minutes, and floss your teeth daily.
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