Pros and Cons of Root Canals vs Extractions

Root canals vs. extractions

Root canals and tooth extractions can alleviate pain from a damaged tooth. 

Did you know that more than 15 million people have root canals done each year in the US and many more opt for extractions? The truth is, bad teeth plague millions of Americans, and many feel there is little they can do about it besides having a tooth extraction.

While a tooth extraction is a common procedure, a root canal can repair the damage and save your tooth at the same time. So, it’s time to dispel the root canal myths. Like, is a root canal dangerous? The answer is no! A root canal is a standard and safe procedure that can take your teeth and make them like new.

Keep reading this guide to learn everything you need to know about root canals vs. tooth extractions!

What Is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a treatment used to repair and save a tooth that’s become badly infected or damaged. 

The center of your tooth, or pulp, is full of nerves, blood vessels, and tissues. The crown of your tooth is the part of the tooth you see above your gums. A root canal removes the infected or injured pulp and preserves the structure of the tooth. Common causes of pulp damage and reasons for root canals include:

  • A cracked or chipped tooth.
  • Dental decay from a cavity.
  • An injury to your tooth.
  • Multiple dental procedures on one tooth.

If you have damage to the pulp of one of your teeth, you’ll notice pain, swelling, and a warm sensation in your gums. Your dentist can diagnose the damage with a dental X-ray and talk to you about a root canal.

Root Canal Procedure

A root canal is done in your dentist’s office. You’ll arrive like usual for the appointment and get a small amount of anesthetic, or numbing medication, around the area of your tooth.

Initially, you will feel a pinch from the needle, but that’s the worst part of a root canal. While your tooth is numb, your dentist will create a small opening to expose the damaged pulp at the top of the tooth. Then, the pulp is removed, and the inner canals of your tooth are also cleaned out. 

Next, your dentist will clean and disinfect the area with a topical antibiotic to ensure the infection is gone. They’ll fill and seal the tooth with a rubber paste and seal the opening using a temporary filling. You’ll have to take oral antibiotics during your recovery time. Your gums may feel sore, and your dentist will recommend you take over-the-counter pain medication like Tylenol or Advil.

After a few days, your dentist will check your tooth to ensure the infection is gone and replace your temporary filling with a permanent filling. Most of the time, you’ll require a crown if the tooth is a molar and necessary for chewing. A crown is a beautiful, durable replacement tooth typically made from porcelain that protects your existing tooth and adheres to it.. 

Root Canal Success Rate

A root canal is a restorative procedure, and most people enjoy the benefits of a root canal for the rest of their lives. Root canals have a 95% success rate. In the rare case that a root canal procedure doesn’t take, your dentist would be able to point you to another restorative procedure. 

Tooth Extraction Procedure

Sometimes people need a tooth extraction procedure during adulthood. Severe tooth decay, infection, or crowding of your teeth can all make a tooth extraction necessary. If your tooth decay is too advanced for a root canal, then your dentist will recommend extraction followed up with an implant option and crown.

A dentist or oral surgeon will perform a tooth extraction in the dental office and will use local or general anesthesia. Removing visibly broken teeth is straightforward, but some extractions require digging below the surface to treat impacted teeth.

To prepare for a tooth extraction, your dentist will ask you what medications you’re taking, including vitamins and over-the-counter medications. Your dentist will also ask you if you have any conditions like:

  • Diabetes.
  • Liver disease.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Thyroid disease.
  • Kidney disease.
  • Any congenital heart defect.

You’ll need to wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes for your appointment and tell your dentist if you have any cold-like symptoms so that you can reschedule. Your dentist will talk to you about the type of anesthesia you’ll receive and whether anyone needs to drive you home.

Tooth Extraction Risks

Tooth extractions don’t carry many risks, but some complications can at times occur. Usually, after a tooth extraction, your body will naturally form a blood clot at the socket or hole in the bone where your tooth was. If this clot dislodges, it can expose the bone and cause a painful condition called a “dry socket.” Other uncommon risks of tooth extractions include:

  • Bleeding that lasts over 12 hours.
  • Swelling and redness.
  • Fever, chills, and infection.
  • Nausea or vomiting.

If any of these things should occur, call your dentist for advice. Your dentist can give advice, treat the problem, and prescribe helpful medications, depending on the situation.

It can take as much as a few days to recover from a tooth extraction, with a little rest and recovery at home. Your dentist will advise you to do things like not smoke or use a straw for 24 hours, so follow those instructions carefully.

Root Canals vs. Tooth Extractions

Both root canals and tooth extractions are solutions for severe tooth damage, infection, and decay.

If you want to get rid of an infected tooth, it seems like a tooth extraction would be the easiest option. But if your dentist recommends a root canal, this means he or she believes that the tooth can be saved and extraction is not your best option. Your dentist will know if extraction or a root canal are better for your tooth.

Overall, a root canal with modern dentistry is easy, saves you time, and has a high success rate. A root canal also preserves the natural shape and functionality of your mouth.  A root canal is a good way to remove infection and give you a normal and naturally functioning tooth. While you can’t always avoid tooth extraction, root canal therapy is a worthwhile treatment option.

A root canal can benefit you.

A root canal is one way dentists keep your smile natural and healthy. You’ll always function better when you can keep your teeth as natural as possible.Talk to our team today about the options that are available for you! Your dental health is our priority. So make sure you contact us today for a healthier smile tomorrow!