Tooth decay is a common dental problem that usually only requires a simple dental filling to treat. However, without early treatment, the tooth might become infected and require more invasive treatment to restore the tooth back to full health. When your tooth becomes infected, there comes a choice you have to make: a root canal or extraction. There’s a constant debate online and lots of misconceptions floating around about whether a root canal is a good idea and if extraction is a better treatment option. Learn the pros and cons of root canal vs extraction to decide for yourself.
Root Canal Overview
At Dental Excellence of Blue Bell, Dr. Siegel will most likely recommend a root canal if he discovers an infected tooth in your mouth. The only case he won’t recommend a root canal is if the damage to the tooth is too severe, the tooth isn’t secure in the jaw due to gum disease, it’s a wisdom tooth that isn’t necessary to preserve, or the tooth has a cracked root. In most cases, a root canal is your best option for treatment.
To complete the root canal procedure at our Blue Bell dental office, Dr. Siegel will start by drilling a hole in your tooth to reach the tooth pulp. From there, he will clean out and disinfect the canals and then fill and seal them with gutta-percha. Lastly, he will place a dental crown over your tooth to protect it and restore its strength and functionality.
Root Canal Aftercare
There is a big misconception that root canals are the most painful procedures but it’s not actually the root canal itself that hurts, it’s the infected tooth before the root canal. During your root canal, Dr. Siegel will numb the area so you don’t feel a thing during your procedure. After your procedure, you might feel a little sore for a few days but it won’t be the excruciating pain you’ve always heard about.
The aftercare for a root canal is quite simple. We recommend eating a diet of soft foods and avoiding chewing near the tooth you had the root canal. You should also be careful when you brush your teeth. After a few days, you should feel back to normal and ready to resume your normal eating and brushing habits.
Pros and Cons
To summarize the root canal procedure, these are the pros and cons.
- Saves tooth from extraction
- Prevents further damage to the tooth
- Protects nearby teeth from infection
- More economical than extraction and tooth replacement
- Results can last for years to come
- Your tooth may require a dental crown
- There’s a risk for reinfection if it wasn’t cleaned properly
The other solution to an infected tooth is to have it extracted. In this case, Dr. Siegel will remove your tooth, and then you will have to choose whether to replace it or not. Of course, we would highly recommend replacing your missing tooth otherwise it can throw off your bite, cause your teeth to move, and limit your mouth’s functionality. Extraction is always our last resort solution. We want to help you retain as many of your natural teeth as possible.
One of the common misconceptions with root canals is that they will cause problems down the line. Many people argue that you should just get an extraction because you will need one eventually. This is not true! Root canals can provide you with results that last for years to come and for some, the rest of their lives.
A major difference between a root canal and extraction is the aftercare. With an extraction, your aftercare is much more intense. For starters, you will experience more pain and discomfort following your procedure. There are also more precautions to avoid getting an infection, excess bleeding, and complications. After your extraction heals, you will then have to choose a tooth replacement like a dental bridge or dental implant with a crown. Depending on which treatment you choose will determine how many more appointments you will have.
Pros and Cons
Choosing an extraction over a root canal comes with a handful of pros and cons to consider.
- Never have to worry about your tooth becoming infected again
- Need to replace your missing tooth with a dental implant for best results
- It will cost more since you have to replace your tooth
- Longer recovery
- More painful
- Change in bite and bone loss if the tooth isn’t replaced
What’s Better: A Root Canal or Extraction?
We think the answer is obvious, but in case you don’t, a root canal is always the better choice as long as you’re a good candidate for the procedure. A root canal will cost less and help you retain jaw bone which comes with tons of other benefits like preventing your teeth from shifting and preventing early signs of aging.
If you think you need a root canal or an extraction, Dr. Siegel is happy to meet with you during a consultation to recommend the best treatment for you. Please call Dental Excellence of Blue Bell at (610) 272-0828 to book a consultation for root canals in Blue Bell, PA today.