Root Canal Vs Tooth Extraction: Which Should You Choose?

May 1, 2020

At Islands Pediatric Dentistry, we are dedicated to providing quality dental care using modern techniques and equipment. While we do offer a range of services to the Gilbert, AZ, area, we also strive to ensure that our patients get the best and most effective treatment according to their needs. This is why we insist on patient education that allows patients properly understand their options, before making a final decision. This way, the choices in the end are informed and patients are fully aware of what outcome and effects to expect.

What is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a procedure done to repair and save an infected or severely damaged tooth. it involves removing the inside part of the tooth which contains blood vessels, nerves and tissues and then cleaning and disinfecting the canal before it is filled and sealed.

When to Choose a Root Canal?

Usually, root canals are performed when the soft inner part of the tooth, called the pulp becomes inflamed maybe due to injury or an infection. The pulp is responsible for nourishing the tooth and also contains nerves that help you sense the difference in temperature. It is however not essential to the survival of a tooth once the tooth emerges from the gum and its removal will not affect how your mouth functions. When a tooth cracks or has a deep cavity, bacteria can enter into the pulp and if left untreated cause a serious tooth infection known as an abscess. Eventually the pulp will die and bone loss and loss of the tooth itself may occur. During this time, you may experience toothaches, gum swelling, temperature sensitivity and pain in the neck, face and jaw.

A root canal eases all these symptoms and frees you from the pain while at the same time gives you a chance to save the affected tooth. When patients or dentists opt for a root canal, it is to ensure that the benefits of having natural teeth are not lost. If there is a chance that a tooth can still function properly even after the pulp is removed, then it is better to keep the tooth.

What is Tooth Extraction?

As the name suggests, a tooth extraction is a procedure to remove a tooth or teeth. There are several reasons why you may need a tooth extraction and it is often the last resort to ensuring a healthy mouth. it is usually a quick outpatient procedure and is performed by either a genera dentist or an oral surgeon. There are two types of tooth extraction procedure, simple and surgical.

With a simple extraction, local anesthesia is administered to numb the area and then the dentist uses an elevator to loosen the tooth and forceps to remove it from its socket. A surgical extraction on the other hand involves making an incision to your gums to remove the bone around the tooth or cut the tooth, to allow for it to be extracted. It is performed under general anesthesia and is slightly complex, meaning its recovery widow is longer.

When to Choose a Tooth Extraction?

Your dentist will suggest you undergo an extraction if there is no other restoration procedure that can help save the tooth. Some of these situations that qualify you for a tooth removal include;

  • When there is irreparable damage to the tooth due to an infection and a root canal cannot be performed.
  • When you have loose tooth due to periodontal disease.
  • To create more space and eliminate overcrowding like in the case of wisdom tooth removal.
  • When the cost to restore the tooth is too great so you remove the tooth to alleviate symptoms like pain and have a replacement when you can afford to.
  • In the case of milk teeth to create room for the incoming permanent teeth.

Usually, after a tooth extraction you will need to undergo a restorative treatment to prevent bone loss or prevent the remaining teeth from shifting unless you were removing milk teeth or wisdom teeth. Dental implants, bridges and dentures are the most common ways of replacing a missing or extracted tooth.