You are sitting in the dental chair with a toothache. To alleviate your pain, you need root canal therapy; if the tooth has been severely infected, your tooth must be extracted.
In this blog post, Dr. Charles A. Robertson and Dr. N. Perry Orchard discuss root canal therapy vs. tooth extraction for our Corpus Christi, TX patients.
Why Not Extract?
Extracting an infected tooth that is causing pain is admittedly faster and less expensive than having root canal therapy. Moreover, in the minds of many patients, the words "root canal" conjure up a less-than-pleasant image. Thus, it is easy to see why patients may be inclined to have their tooth extracted rather than undergo root canal therapy.
But is this the right decision? At our practice, we always try to save a tooth rather than extract it.
Thanks to modern techniques, root canal therapy is a painless and routine dental procedure. We use local anesthetic, which can be combined with nitrous oxide, oral sedation, or IV sedation to further reduce any apprehension you have about undergoing root canal therapy.
Furthermore, in the long run, root canal therapy is actually less expensive than extraction. Replacing a missing tooth with a dental bridge or implant can be costly. If patients choose to not replace the missing tooth, additional dental problems can develop, such as jawbone loss and movement of the remaining teeth.
If possible, dentists recommend root canal therapy when an infected tooth that is causing pain. Root canal therapy is the most conservative approach.
The Case for Extraction
This does not mean that extraction should always be avoided. In fact, a tooth with a hopeless prognosis should almost always be removed. There are specific situations in which extraction is the best, and perhaps the only, form of treatment for the patient. These include:
- A tooth so badly broken down by decay that it cannot be restored with a filling or crown
- A tooth so badly infected with gum disease that it has very little remaining bone support
- A severe tooth fracture that extends vertically down into the root
- A tooth with roots so twisted and curved that root canal therapy cannot be successfully performed
- An infected tooth that is not in function; for example, a wisdom tooth
We will advise patients whether root canal therapy or tooth extraction is the best treatment for their unique situation.
If you want to know more about any aspect of your oral health, let us hear from you. We provide a full range of cosmetic and restorative dental services that can improve your dental health and brighten your smile. Give us a call at (361) 992-3011 or contact us online.