3 Root Canal versus Extraction: Which to Choose - Blog

In cases of severe tooth pain due to decay, it might seem that extracting the troublesome tooth will provide great and immediate relief, and, therefore, it is the best solution. It is true; however, if it is possible to save the tooth and restore its function, a dentist might prefer root canal therapy to extraction. In this article we will talk about root canal versus extraction and help you understand which is preferable in your case.

Root Canal versus Extraction: Which to Choose

Cases for Tooth Extraction
Unfortunately, in some situations, it can be too late for root canal therapy because the normal function of the tooth can no longer be restored. Your dentist will most likely recommend tooth extraction if:

  • The decay is so severe that the tooth can not be saved with root canal treatment.
  • The decay goes below the crest of the bone that supports the tooth.
  • The tooth is severely damaged due to trauma, for example, broken at a gum line.
  • Progressed infection in the deep layers of the pulp.
  • A big part of the tooth is lost, and therefore, a crown can not be placed on it even if root canal therapy is done.

What Is Root Canal Therapy?

As we mentioned before, root canal therapy is a procedure aimed at preserving the natural tooth and at restoring its function. Root canal therapy treats infections in the roots of a tooth. During the procedure a doctor called an endodontist will remove the pulp from inside the tooth and clean and disinfect the root canals. Then, the canals are shaped and filled with a special dental material.

When Do You Need Root Canal Therapy?

Root canal therapy is needed when the infection has spread deep within the root of the tooth. The infected pulp has to be removed to stop the infection from spreading even more. Here are several signs that you might have a root canal infection and need root canal treatment:

Sensitivity to Hot and Cold Food and Beverages

In a lot of cases sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures means that some form of tooth decay is present. It is better to visit your dentist as soon as you notice the first signs of sensitivity. Do not wait until it turns into sharp and severe pain.

Sensitivity to Pressure

If your tooth aches when pressure is applied to it while chewing food or touching the tooth with your tongue or finger, it might mean that the roots of the tooth are inflamed due to the infection. Even if the pain is not very strong, if you feel it for more than several days, do not delay your dentist appointment.

Persistent Pain

If your tooth constantly aches, even without any external factors like pressure or changes in temperature affecting it, it is a sure sign that you need to visit your dentist as soon as possible. Such pain is often a sign of serious issues that are highly unlikely to go away without treatment.

Gum Around the Tooth is Swollen

In some cases gum swelling and sensitivity can be an indicator of the infection underneath the gum surface. In fact, this infection can be located in the root canals of the tooth in the area of swelling.

The Color of the Tooth Has Darkened

It is true that discoloration and darkening of the tooth can be caused by consumption of foods and beverages that stain your teeth or by smoking. However, it can also be a sign that infection is present underneath the tooth surface, or the nerves of the tooth are damaged. If discoloration is combined with other symptoms on the list, it is especially important to get a check up.

Bad Breath

Persistent bad breath that does not go away even when your oral hygiene routine is sufficient might be a sure indicator that infection is present. Tooth decay causes persistent bad breath that can not be remedied by simply brushing your teeth. When the infected pulp is cleaned out during root canal therapy, bad breath will no longer be a problem.

Do Not Delay Your Root Canal Therapy

When it comes to root canal infections, the sooner they are treated, the better. If the decay becomes too severe and spreads, your dentist might not be able to save your tooth. In severe cases, root canal infections have to be treated immediately by an emergency endodontist.

Remember that left untreated, tooth infection can lead to abscess under the gums. It can also spread deeper to the jaw bone and other parts of the body. In some cases severe untreated tooth decay can result in heart related problems, worsen existing health conditions, and have other complications.

Sign up for an appointment to have a consultation or root canal therapy at Maz Endodontics today.