As a dental practitioner, I come across many patients who are unsure about whether they should have a root canal procedure performed or have their problematic tooth removed.
To help others who may be suffering from an infection in the tooth, below is your ultimate guide to root canal vs extraction. Keep reading to learn about each procedure and gather all the information you need to decide on a root canal or extraction procedure.
What Is A Root Canal?
To understand the root canal procedure, you must first have an understanding of the tooth structure. Teeth are held in place by the jaw, which roots the tooth in position. The rest of the tooth comprises:
- Enamel – this is the hard outer layer of the tooth, designed to help us chew and bite our food with ease.
- Dentine – below the enamel is the dentine, which is a softer material that fills most of the tooth and supports the enamel.
- Cementum – to protect the root of the tooth, there is another complex layer of tissue called cementum, which is found beneath the dentine.
- Dental pulp – at the centre of the tooth, there is a soft tissue called the dental pulp.
When you get an infection at the centre of your tooth, this can cause the tooth to deteriorate. The condition at the centre of the tooth is usually caused by plaque that has developed in the mouth over time. When you eat sugary foods and have poor oral hygiene practices, this causes bacteria to grow in the mouth, which will increase over time and lead to plaque on the teeth.
However, not all infections in the centre of the tooth are caused by plaque and tooth decay. Injuries can cause some infections: trauma to the mouth could lead to the centre of the tooth becoming exposed.
Infections at the centre of the tooth can also be caused by leaky fillings, which will allow bacteria from the saliva and mouth to enter the centre of the tooth.
When Do You Need A Root Canal?
When an infection caused by bacteria damages the pulp, this will be visible on an X-ray of the mouth. The pulp then becomes inflamed, and more bacteria grow. The inflammation in the pulp can cause pain and sensitivity when eating hot or cold food, pain when biting or chewing, and loose teeth.
If the condition goes untreated, it may progress. The sensitivity in the tooth’s pulp will subside, leading you to believe you have recovered. It will, however, return with oozing and swelling in the gums, mouth, and jaw, and your tooth will appear a darker colour.
Though you can use antibiotics to manage the symptoms of bacterial infection, they will not cure it. Instead, you must have a root canal procedure performed at your local dentist in Bentleigh.
Advantages Of A Root Canal
A root canal procedure will remove the bacteria from the centre of the tooth, and then a new artificial enamel will be placed on the tooth. This means you will feel less pain, and you will be able to eat and drink without discomfort (once you have finished your recovery, of course).
The main advantage of the procedure is that you will not lose your natural tooth. This is the preferred option as it’s best to keep as many of your natural teeth as you can.
What Is Tooth Extraction?
Tooth extraction is a relatively simple and quick procedure, usually performed to resolve issues regarding pain in the mouth. When you visit your dentist for tooth extraction, they will put you under local anesthetic – this means that you will still be awake, but you will feel no pain, only pressure.
Your tooth sits in a socket that allows it to attach to the jaw. To remove the tooth, the dentist will slightly loosen both the tooth and the socket surrounding it. From there, the tooth is pulled from your mouth with precision. After the tooth has been removed, your dentist will stitch up the hole left behind so that it will heal quicker.
Once the procedure is complete, the dentist will give you a cotton ball to place in your mouth and bite down to soak up any bleeding from the gums. Then they will likely prescribe some painkillers and antibacterial mouthwash so you can practice aftercare and keep your mouth clean to avoid future infections.
When Do You Need A Tooth Extraction?
There are many reasons why you may need to have your tooth extracted. Mainly, you will have to have your tooth extracted if it has become decayed or infected to the extent that your dentist can no longer salvage it. Some of the main reasons why this happens are:
- Tooth decay (in severe instances)
- Gum disease
- Abscesses in the gums or surrounding the teeth
- Overcrowding in the mouth (there is not enough space in your jaw to accommodate your teeth)
- The tooth has been damaged or broken and cannot be repaired
- It is a wisdom tooth that affects the placement of your other teeth
If your dentist can salvage your teeth, then your dentist will likely not recommend a tooth extraction procedure.
Advantages Of Tooth Extraction
There are many advantages you can gain from having your tooth extracted, relieving the symptoms of your oral issue:
- No more pain – you won’t experience toothache or pain following the procedure (besides your recovery).
- You can have the tooth replaced – if the tooth is visible at the front of your mouth, you won’t have to be missing a tooth forever. You can have a dental implant placed that will return your smile to its original glory.
- Rids infection in the mouth – when you have your tooth extracted, all of the infection will go with it. This prevents the infection from spreading to your other teeth.
If you’re considering having a procedure to resolve an infection in your tooth, then you need to weigh up whether a root canal or a tooth extraction will be best. Your dentist will determine whether they can salvage the tooth with a root canal or whether you might need to consider a tooth extraction procedure. Get in touch with Verve Dental today to book a consultation to make the best decision for your oral health.