Root Canal or Extraction – Weighing Your Options
Root canal treatment to save your tooth is almost always a better option than extraction. It’s a good investment in the long run for several reasons.
Long term complications that result from extractions include:
- Bite Misalignment
- Drifting Adjacent Teeth
- Bone Loss at the Extraction Site
Bone loss over time reduces the likelihood of qualifying for future implant treatment in many cases. In addition, the cost to have a future bridge or implant placed (combined with the cost of the extraction) makes for overall higher cost than if the root canal procedure and a crown were done to begin with. Complications that result from misalignment and drifting teeth in the future are also cost considerations.
It’s hard to fork out money for a root canal and crown when you compare the cost to extraction, but it is usually a better long term investment for your overall oral health.
What is a Root Canal?
Root Canal Treatment is a sequence of procedures on the tooth pulp and nerves designed to save a tooth that otherwise would need to be extracted. The end result is the elimination of infection and protection from future microbial invasion. Due to the brittle or fractious condition of the tooth after Root Canal Treatment, it is necessary that the tooth be fitted with a crown as soon as possible to prevent loss of the tooth due to a fracture.
For some patients root canal treatment is one of the most feared dental procedures, perhaps because of a painful abscess (infection and swelling) that necessitates root canal treatment or else extraction. Often the fear is from stories of old fashioned dentistry; from the days before innovations in the art and science of root canal treatment. Root Canal Treatment is relatively painless. Pain is controlled with local anesthetics during the procedure, and because of improved methods, instruments and materials available in modern dentistry. Most Root Canal procedures are done in one dental visit lasting around 2-3 hours (depending on the number and curvature of tooth root canals), but the procedure is not a painful experience.
In most cases, nothing is better than the teeth Mother Nature gave you. Keeping teeth healthy and in proper place insures quality eating, overall better health and less expense over a life time. Saving your teeth is a smart investment.
Additional Reading: A visual representation of root canal therapy