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.
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.
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.