Root Canal vs Extraction: wondering which is better? Both are procedures for infected teeth to prevent further tissue and damage later down the road. A root canal is a procedure that saves part of the natural tooth. Alternatively, an extraction is for times when the tooth or root is irreparable.
Dentists perform a root canal procedure when the pulp inside a tooth becomes infected or inflamed. This procedure aims to rid the tooth of bacteria, prevent further infection, and save the natural tooth. The treatment involves a dentist or endodontist making an opening in the tooth’s crown into the pulp chamber. They then use tiny instruments to remove the nerve or pulp from the chamber and canal of each root of the tooth. Finally, they restore the tooth with a crown or a permanent filling.
Types Of Tooth Extractions
The difference between a root canal vs. an extraction is that a tooth extraction occurs when a tooth or the root is beyond repair. Dentists can perform two main types of tooth extractions. The first is called a simple extraction, which involves a dentist starting by numbing the extraction area. The dentist will use an instrument called an elevator to loosen the tooth from the socket before removing it with forceps.
The second type of tooth extraction is called a surgical extraction. Dentists or oral surgeons can perform this type of extraction if a tooth is broken off at the gumline’s point or has not fully grown into the mouth yet. In this procedure, they will make a small cut into the gum to remove it. In some cases, they may need to remove bone blocking around the tooth. Likewise, they may need to cut into the tooth to extract it.
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Extraction vs. Root Canal Pain: What hurts more?
The extraction of a tooth itself is virtually painless. Dentists numb the area, and patients may only feel some pressure. After the procedure, patients can expect some amount of pain. However, the procedure removes the infected teeth. The infected teeth contain the nerve endings that sense most of the pain. A dentist essentially cuts these off at the beginning of an extraction.
The pain after an extraction depends on a few things. A dentist removes the infected teeth that contain nerve endings. Therefore, the tissues around the extracted teeth determine pain after an extraction. Depending on what the procedure requires, the degree of tissue damage can vary, which affects the amount of pain.
The severity of infection that accumulated before the procedure also influences how much pain is present after. The state in which the tissues are in can affect the healing process and pain involved. Additionally, some patients have more tissue sensitivity than others.
When considering a tooth extraction vs. root canal, keep in mind a root canal procedure causes little to no pain. Even though it can sound scary, it is similar in scale to have a deep filling performed. The mouth pain leading up to the root canal is what patients usually remember. The pain before a root canal involves the soft inside of the tooth with nerves and lymphatic tissue. Once the root canal occurs, pain is alleviated, and the feeling left is only mild to moderate pain and soreness.
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Root Canal vs. Extraction Pros and Cons
Dentists recommend root canals and tooth extractions depending on each patient’s individual needs. Weighing each procedure’s pros and cons can be helpful when deciding with your dentist on the best option to meet your needs. Here is essential information on what to expect before, during, and after either one is performed:
- Root Canal: There are not as many risks with a root canal. One of the main dangers is that if a dentist does not do it properly, the procedure can damage the enamel. Another risk is that an abscess can develop and spread if any infected material is left behind.
- Extraction: An extraction leaves an empty hole in the mouth. This hole makes it possible for bacteria to grow and cause an infection. An infection can spread to other teeth quickly and start a domino of extractions that are needed. Additionally, tooth extractions can endanger surrounding teeth by causing teeth to shift within the mouth due to the new gap. If one of those teeth loosens up, other teeth tend to become loose and can even begin to fall out.
Prevention of Future Problems
- Root Canal: Root canals are not entirely risk-free. However, going without the procedure will only cause the infected tooth to worsen. As a result, the infection can lead to an abscess or other severe conditions like oral bone degeneration. Likewise, infection can cause functional issues.
- Extraction: Before dentists perform an extraction, they determine whether a tooth is likely to cause future problems. Having a tooth extracted can solve issues related to infection and a crowded mouth. Dentists often see a crowded mouth with patients who have wisdom teeth in the back of their mouths that are hard to care for.
- Root Canal: Saves part of the natural tooth. The natural tooth helps with a quicker recovery time. As a result, pain or discomfort from a root canal usually dissipates a couple of days after the procedure.
- Extractions: Require individuals to avoid certain foods and chewing in that area to reduce the risk of infection. Tooth extractions require individuals to rest for two to three days to up to one week before returning to normal physical activity. This is to allow time for the affected area to clot.
- Root Canal: Patients should know that root canals have high upfront costs when deciding on either an extraction or a root canal. These upfront costs may be hundreds or a few thousand dollars.
- Tooth extractions: May only cost a few hundred initially. However, tooth extractions lead to continuing appointments and more money later down the line. For example, if a dental bridge or implant is needed.
Root canals and tooth extractions are essential options to become familiar with for anyone wondering how to fix their infected tooth. The team here at the office for David Wilhite DDS strives to provide a comfortable and relaxing dental experience for the Plano, Texas community. Whether you are interested in getting an extraction or a root canal, give us a call today at (972) 964-3774 for a happier, healthier mouth.
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Dentist appointments are important at every time of the year, all through your life. For kids, it’s important that we establish good dental habits.
During the holiday season though, your kid’s dental health will be put to the test. Snack trays, sweets, pastries and sugary temptations will be everywhere. Well-meaning grownups and grandparents will be more than happy to fill them up with treats.
We want to make sure your children stay healthy during the holidays and don’t head into their next appointment with new cavities.
In order to help, we’re going to share some holiday dental tips for kids provided by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Read the tips below to keep your kids healthy.
Healthy Habits to keep your kids smiling through the holidays and into the new year.
The holiday season is always a busy time, especially for families. With kids out of school, a steady stream of festivities and a new year to plan for, the rhythm of everyday life gets put on hold. And sometimes that means good oral health routines and habits go out the window too.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) wants to remind parents and caregivers that the holiday break is a great time to help your kids establish and maintain healthy dental habits. This includes good brushing, flossing and eating habits that are essential for healthy teeth.
- The AAPDS recommends that a child’s first visit to a pediatric dentist should be by the AGE OF ONE or when the FIRST TOOTH APPEARS. Regular check-ups should occur every SIX MONTHS.
- Parents should help their children brush their teeth TWICE DAILY – after breakfast and before bedtime are ideal. It’s recommended that parents/caregivers supervise the brushing for school-age children until they are 7 to 8 years of age.
- The BEST TOOTHBRUSHES for children have soft, round-ended (polished) bristles that clean while being gentle on the gums. The handle should be proportionate to the size of the child’s hand.
- Parents can begin FLOSSING for their children when two teeth are touching. Children can begin flossing on their own around age 7.
- Look for FLOURIDE TOOTHPASTE with the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance.
- Sugary candy, food, and drinks are part of the holidays. With this, the risk of cavities and poor dental health also increases. Parents should try to moderate sugar intake, and WATCH OUT FOR CARBONATED DRINKS, which actually erode teeth more than sweetened drinks.
- Keep an eye on on snacking – ideally, children should have NO MORE THAN THREE SNACK TIMES a day.
- COOKED STARCHES CAN LEAD TO CAVITIES just as sugars can. In fact, cooked starches such as bread, crackers, pasta, pretzels and potato chips frequently take longer to clear the mouth than sugars.
- LIMIT SUGAR INTAKE by checking labels and buying sugar-free varieties of food options, if available.
- CHEESES such as aged cheddar, Swiss, mozzarella and Monterey Jack are great as a snack or to eat after a meal because they clear the mouth of food and neutralize the acids that attack teeth.
This story originally appeared on The Mouth Monsters
We hope that you will take these recommendations into consideration for your own children during the holiday season. We want to help parents establish good dental health habits for children so they get a good foundation for health as adults.
Dentist appointments should not be skipped. These 12 reasons are further examples of why it may be time to see a dentist soon.
Reasons to visit a dentist right away
- Pain or swelling
- Gums are puffy or bleeding
- You’re hiding your smile
- You’ve recently had work done
- Ongoing medical issues
- You are pregnant
- Trouble eating
- Dry mouth
- Tobacco use
- Jaw pain
- Spots or sores
- Annual check-up time
Pain or swelling
If you are suffering from pain or swelling, there is no reason to put off that visit that may be scheduled for a month or longer away. Make that visit right away. Toothaches, swelling, and pain are all symptoms of issues that you should have treated right away. The sooner the better. You can end that pain and also improve your long-term health.
Related: Causes of toothaches
Gums are puffy or bleeding
If your gums are puffy or bleeding when you brush, it’s time to visit the dentist. These are signs of gum disease and the sooner you can have it treated the sooner you can stop the damage. It can’t always be reversed but you can keep it from causing more serious damage.
Related: What are the types of gum disease
You’re hiding your smile
If you are hiding your smile, that’s a sure sign that it’s time to get some work done to address the issue. Don’t hide your smile, get it fixed and start feeling great again.
You’ve recently had work done
If you have recently had fillings, crowns, dental implants or dentures, you need to follow up with your dentist as recommended for a follow up so they can make sure everything has worked out the way it should.
Ongoing medical issues
Your dental health can tie in with your overall health and each may influence each other. If you have a medical condition such as diabetes, heart disease, or an eating disorder, or undergoing medical treatments, you should make sure your dentist is a partner in your treatment and health. Symptoms of other health issues can show in your mouth or your gums could point to other potential health issues.
You are pregnant
If you weren’t sure, it IS safe to go to the dentist while pregnant. It is recommended you do so because pregnancy can make some dental issues worse. Make sure you schedule an appointment so that you will have one less thing to worry about.
If you are having trouble eating or drinking, do yourself a favor and schedule an appointment with your dentist. Stop living with discomfort and don’t take a chance that you’ll make your issues worse by waiting.
Sometimes dry mouth can be a symptom of another medical issue. It can also be a side effect of medications you are taking. Check with your dentist and get to the cause of this so you can find a solution.
Related: What causes dry mouth?
Cigarettes and chewing tobacco can affect your dental and physical health. If you are a regular tobacco user, you should have an oral cancer screening in Plano to check for any early signs or oral cancer so it can be addressed as soon as possible.
It is time to visit the dentist if you are having jaw pain or popping when you are opening and closing your mouth, waking up in the morning or chewing. These could be symptoms of TMJ and your dentist can help you find a TMJ treatment in Plano that can work for you and ease your TMJ pain. Another reason to schedule an appointment could be an uneven bite.
Related: TMJ headache treatment
Spots or sores
If you notice a spot or a sore in your mouth that isn’t normally there and it lasts for a week or longer, you should see your dentist about it. Different types of mouth sores include canker sores, cold sores, leukoplakia, and candidiasis. These can all vary in their seriousness and have different causes. Mouth sores can be the symptom of a disease or disorder. They can also be an infection from bacteria, a virus or fungus or result from irritation caused by braces, dentures or the sharp edge of a broken tooth or filling.
Annual check-up time
Have you had your annual dental check-up in Plano, TX? We sure hope so! It’s simple to schedule and will help keep your mouth healthy and contributes to your overall physical health.
A canker sore is a mouth ulcer or sore that is open. They are commonly found on the inside of lips or cheeks. They are also found on the gums and under the tongue. Canker sores are usually white or yellowish oval shaped sores and surrounded by red, irritated tissue. Canker sores are most common during adolescence and young adulthood and become less common as we age. About 1 in 5 children develop a canker sore. Though often confused for cold sores, they are not related. In addition, canker sores are not contagious.
Canker Sore Causes
Researchers are not sure what is the exact cause of a canker sore, however they believe a combination of factors may contribute.
Potential contributing factors include:
- accidental cheek bite
- food sensitivities
- vitamin deficiencies
- allergic response to bacteria in your mouth
- hormone changes
- toothpastes containing sodium lauryl sulfate
Cankers sores may occur because of diseases such as:
- celiac disease
- Chrohn’s disease
- ulcerative colitis
- Behcet’s disease
- immune system issues
Canker sores usually heal on their own within a few weeks, with pain diminishing in about a week. If your canker sore has not healed in three weeks, you may need to seek medical care. Several over the counter remedies exist, including pastes, gels, or mouth rinses with ingredients to minimize canker sore pain. A doctor may prescribe oral medication for severe canker sores.
To help healing at home you can use a salt-water rinse. In addition, it is advisable to avoid spicy or acidic foods, which can exacerbate the sore. You may also find relief in allowing ice chips to dissolve over the sore. Lastly, it’s important to brush your teeth gently (including with a gentle toothpaste) to avoid irritating the sore further.
If you can identify what triggers canker sores in your mouth, it is best to avoid it. Pay attention to potential food allergies. Eat healthfully to prevent nutritional deficiencies. Always practice good oral health and brush daily and floss and use mouthwash regularly.
COVID-19 Dental FAQ
Our community has been through a lot over the last few months, and all of us are looking forward to resuming our normal habits and routines. While many things have changed, one thing has remained the same: our commitment to your safety.
Infection control has always been a top priority for our practice and you may have seen this during your visits to our office. Our infection control processes are designed to make you feel both safe and comfortable. We want to tell you about the infection control procedures we follow in our practice to keep patients and staff safe.
Our office follows infection control recommendations made by the American Dental Association (ADA), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). We follow the directives of these agencies so that we are up to date on any new rulings or guidance that may be issued.
You may see some changes when it is time for your next appointment. We made these changes to help protect our patients and staff. For example:
- Our office will conduct a health screening and temperature check upon your arrival.
- We have hand sanitizer available throughout the office.
- You may see that our waiting room no longer offers magazines, books, children’s toys, etc. to reduce the spread of germs.
- Our clinical staff will wear additional personal protective equipment (PPE) to better protect themselves and their patients.
- Appointments will begin with an oral rinse to reduce bacteria in the mouth prior to treatment.
We look forward to seeing you again and are happy to answer any questions you may have about the steps we take to keep you, and every patient, safe in our practice. To make an appointment, please call our office at (972) 964-3774 or contact us today.
Thank you for being our patient. We value your trust and loyalty and look forward to welcoming back our patients, neighbors and friends.
Can I put off my dental appointment until after the COVID-19 pandemic is over?
Regular dental appointments are an important part of taking care of your overall health. While it can be tempting to put off your regular checkup until things feel more “normal” again, I advise against it. Routine appointments give me an opportunity to check for a number of health conditions and catch them early. Some conditions, like tooth decay, can be more difficult, painful and expensive to treat if they’re left undetected.
Your health and safety is, and has always been, my top priority. My staff and I are taking every precaution to limit the risk of COVID-19 transmission at your visit.
What about teledentistry? Can / substitute a virtual visit for my regular appointment?
A phone or video appointment isn’t the same as your regular appointment. Teledentistry can be helpful in some situations, such as deciding if an oral health issue you’re experiencing is an emergency that requires immediate treatment or if it’s something that can wait a bit. If you think you may be experiencing a dental emergency, call my office and we’ll help you decide if you need to come in.
What are you doing differently because of COVID-19?
There are a number of science-backed steps my staff and I are taking to help limit the spread of COVID-19. These include:
- Increased personal protective equipment including masks, face shields, goggles and surgical gowns or long-sleeved lab coats.
- Increased cleaning protocols. This includes using disinfectants known to kill the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, removing high-touch items like magazines and toys from waiting rooms and frequently cleaning items like pens and clipboards.
I’ve heard it’s safer to schedule your appointment for first thing in the morning – the office will be cleaner because there haven’t been patients coming through before me. Is that true?
You should schedule your dental appointment for the time of day that works for you. The same enhanced cleaning protocols occur all day long, including leaving the room empty after a patient leaves to allow the appropriate time necessary as part of thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting the space between patients.
How is your dental team monitoring themselves for COVID-19?
Staff at our practice are subject to daily health screenings. This includes taking their temperatures to make sure they don’t have a fever and asking them a series of health-related questions each day to make sure they’re not experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19.
You said you cannot see me as a patient because of my COVID-19 risk. Can you do that?
Yes. The safety of our patients and the dental team is our highest priority. As Dentists, we use our professional judgment and guidance from the CDC and the American Dental Association (ADA) to determine risk levels for seeing patients. If it was determined that you were high risk, or had a high temperature on the day of your appointment, we can have a conversation about which factors determined delay of service, so that you can self-monitor and reschedule.
What is TMJ?
Dr. Wilhite has helped hundred of patients who suffer from TMJ Disorder, migraine headaches, and tooth grinding. Frequently asked TMJ questions include “what is TMJ?” TMJ disorders can cause pain in your jaw joint and the surrounding muscles. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint that connects your jawbone to your skull. TMJ pain can look different for different patients. For example, some experience continuous pain, others have pain that comes and goes. Some who suffer from TMJ Disorder experience a locking, stiff jaw or experience a pop when they open and close their mouth.
Frequently asked TMJ questions: What are symptoms?
While different patients experience different symptoms, here is a list of symptoms that someone suffering from TMJ Disorder might experience:
Pain or tenderness in your jaw
Jaw clicking and popping
Pain in your jaw joints
Pain in or around your ears
Earaches or ear pain
Popping sounds in ears
Pain while chewing
Facial pain or aching
Locking of the jaw joint
Neck stiffness or aches
What are TMJ exercises for pain relief?
Because TMJ pain symptoms are different between patients, there is no universal exercise for TMJ pain relief. However, some people have found that TMJ exercises can help ease the pain. TMJ exercises work to achieve four basic goals: strengthening the jaw, stretching the temporomandibular joint, improving the mobility of the temporomandibular joint, and providing relaxation to treat stress-induced TMJ pain. Learn some of the exercises here.
Frequently asked TMJ questions: What is TMJ treatment?
Most TMJ treatment begins with the most conservative, least invasive procedures. After exercises, other options may include the NTI mouth guard device. It is used to treat appropriate cases of TMJ when the root cause is teeth grinding and clenching. Another option is using Botox injections to end TMJ pain. For those who cannot control their daytime clenching, Botox often produces good results by reducing the intensity of muscle contractions.