Root Canal Therapy vs. Tooth Extractions

Root Canal Therapy vs. Tooth Extractions

Oct 12, 2017 — by John Rink DDS
Tags: Root Canal Restorative Dentistry

X-ray image of infected toothWhen the outer structure of the tooth becomes damaged by decay, erosion, or trauma, it creates openings that allow bacteria to reach the center of the tooth. The center of the tooth, also known as the “pulp,” consists of a collection of sensitive nerves and tissues. Bacteria can infect these tissues, leading to inflammation, pain, and tooth discoloration. These are all symptoms of a root canal infection.

The experienced dentists at the Charleston Center for Cosmetic & Restorative Dentistry offer root canal therapy to eliminate infected pulp from the tooth and cleanse the roots so that the natural tooth can be preserved. Root canal therapy is an effective treatment that is virtually pain-free for our patients, thanks to the skill of our dentists, the advanced dental techniques used, and the anesthesia options that are available.

Unfortunately, many patients have heard misinformation about root canal therapy, and question whether it is easier to just extract the infected tooth. Our dentists are happy to discuss the pros and cons of root canal therapy vs. tooth extractions with our Charleston, SC patients, and let them know which may be most appropriate for their unique situation.

Root Canal Therapy

The goal of root canal therapy is to treat infection so that the root structure of the natural tooth can be saved. During this procedure, our dentist will remove tissues that have become infected. The entire roots of the tooth will also be cleaned. After ensuring that bacteria and infection have been eliminated, the center of the tooth will be filled with a rubber-like dental compound. As a final precaution, we recommend the placement of a dental crown, which will further strengthen the tooth while providing an added layer of protection.

The entire root canal therapy procedure is performed using anesthetic to provide the patient with the ultimate level of comfort throughout treatment. Following root canal therapy, the patient may experience slight discomfort, but this should be no more severe than the discomfort that would be felt following any restorative dentistry treatment. Aside from this discomfort, there really is no downside to root canal therapy, but there are many benefits, including:

  • Improved oral strength and comfort
  • Protection against further infection
  • Preservation of the natural tooth

Tooth Extraction

During a tooth extraction, dental tools are used to remove a tooth that has been damaged by root canal infection. The entire tooth is extracted, including the crown and roots. As with root canal therapy, this procedure is performed using anesthetic to minimize discomfort for our patients. Tooth extraction can be necessary if the roots of the tooth have been damaged beyond repair, but there are some downsides to tooth extraction, so our dentists urge patients to save the natural tooth whenever possible. Below are some of the cons of tooth extraction:

  • Unattractive gap in the smile
  • Compromised oral strength and functions
  • Potential for adjacent teeth to collapse
  • Likely loss of healthy jawbone tissues

The best way to avoid these risks is to replace an extracted tooth as soon as possible with a dental restoration such as a dental bridge or dental implant-supported restoration.

Schedule an Appointment

If you are suffering from a root canal infection, it is important to discuss your treatment options with an experienced dentist, such as those at the Charleston Center for Cosmetic & Restorative Dentistry. Schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience to learn more about root canal therapy and tooth extraction, and which may be right for you.

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