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Root Canal Treatment Versus Tooth Extraction
If your tooth is severely infected or damaged, your dentist might recommend a root canal treatment or an extraction. In many cases, you can choose between the procedures. However, an extraction is sometimes the only viable option. Learn more about both procedures to understand what to expect and which one to choose.
Comparing root canal treatment and tooth extraction
During a root canal procedure, a dentist drills through the tooth to access the root canal. The dentist cleans the canal and fills it to seal it. Depending on the severity of the damage, patients might need a crown after undergoing this procedure. Patients who undergo a tooth extraction have the tooth removed. It is important to replace the tooth with a restoration such as an implant and crown or bridge. Learn more about the differences between the two procedures.
The roots of the teeth stimulate the bone, preventing bone loss. Strong bones keep other teeth in place and also keep the gums healthy. Because the natural tooth stays in place with a root canal, bone loss is not a concern. However, if the tooth is extracted, a replacement is needed to prevent bone loss. Patients need implants to stimulate the bone to prevent bone loss. Simply getting removable partial dentures will not prevent the loss of bone density.
Many people are surprised to learn that a root canal treatment is usually more affordable than an extraction. The initial procedure for an extraction is more affordable, but the restoration can be costly. Implants, crowns and other restoration options can add up over a lifetime. In the end, people often spend more money after getting an extraction.
Number of visits
Patients should also consider the number of visits required before undergoing treatment. Some root canals can be performed in a single visit. However, patients typically need to visit the dentist two to three times if they need a crown on top of the tooth. The crown strengthens the tooth if it has been weakened by decay.
A tooth extraction can occur in a single dental visit. However, patients who want dental implants will need to undergo at least two surgeries. The dentist also must wait for six months to a year for the bone to grow around the implants after placement. Then the patient must come in once again to get a crown placed on top of the implant.
Which option is available?
Many people choose to get extractions when a root canal is a viable option. This is not recommended. It is wise to save the natural tooth whenever possible. However, in some cases, a root canal is not an option. If the tooth is cracked past the gumline or if the decay is so severe that it can no longer support a restoration, the dentist will likely recommend an extraction.
Deciding between a root canal and extraction
If you need to decide between a root canal and extraction, consider the differences. Think about your bone health, the cost and the number of visits. You also need to determine if a root canal can save your tooth. Your dentist will examine you and help you make the right decision.
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