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Root Canal vs Extraction: Which One is Right for You?

By summer on February 28, 2018


Sometimes, decay or dental damage extends deep within a tooth. When bacteria reach the pulp chamber there are two treatment options: root canal therapy or an extraction. At Gooch Family Dental in Birmingham, AL, we are in the tooth-saving business, and we prefer to prevent removing a tooth whenever possible. But when it comes to root canal vs extraction, how do you know which treatment option is the right one for you?

up close photo of a dental x-ray showing a damaged tooth

When Is Root Canal Treatment Recommended?

The inner pulp of a tooth can become diseased, damaged, or necrotic whenever bacteria is introduced. This can occur due to a large cavity, a fracture, or a failed dental restoration, among other things. If the inner structure of a tooth becomes infected, the bacteria can spread to the surrounding jawbone and the adjacent teeth. If left untreated, it can lead to bone or tooth loss.

Root canal treatment is typically recommended if there is a hopeful long-term prognosis for the tooth. If the structure is mostly intact and there is healthy, dense bone surrounding the tooth root, then root canal therapy will usually be quite beneficial.

Root Canal Treatment: A Brief Recap

To perform root canal therapy, your doctor will numb the gums and teeth with local anesthesia to ensure your comfort. Next, they will create an access point on the chewing surface of the tooth so the root canals can be accessed. The nerves and tissues inside the canals and pulp chamber will be removed, and the surfaces will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Finally, the canals will be filled with a flexible dental material, and the tooth will be sealed with a filling or a dental crown. Depending on the severity of your condition, the filling or crown may be placed at a second appointment. If this is the case, a temporary filling will be used to protect your tooth in the meantime.

When is a Dental Extraction Recommended?

Sometimes a tooth is simply beyond repair. If the damage has significantly weakened the overall structure of the tooth, or if you have sustained a large fracture that extends beneath the gum line, an extraction may be recommended.

Tooth Extraction: A Brief Recap

With today’s advances in techniques and technology, extraction is easier than ever before. To perform the procedure, your doctor will numb the tooth and the surrounding gums. Once you are comfortable, the tissues around the tooth will be loosened with specialized dental instruments. Next, the tooth will be gently lifted from its socket. Stitches may be placed to protect the site, depending on the complexity of your case.

Sedation Options for Your Comfort

At Gooch Family Dental, patient comfort is our number one priority. That is why we offer sedation dentistry to keep you relaxed during your procedure. To determine if sedation dentistry is right for you, we can discuss your options with you during your initial consultation.

Contact Our Office to Learn More

When exploring root canal vs extraction, it is important to weigh all of your options. Saving a natural tooth is always the preferred option, but only when it is feasible. To determine if root canal therapy can effectively address your concern, schedule a consultation with one of our doctors by contacting us online.

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Birmingham, AL 35242

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