Root Canal vs. Tooth Extraction

dental hygienist holding up dental xray

Both root canals and tooth extractions get a bad rap. Both of these procedures tend to be misunderstood and sometimes confused with other procedures. The difference between a root canal and tooth extraction are important as they provide completely different results in your mouth. 

What is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a routine dental procedure that removes diseased pulp, nerves, and connective tissue from an infected tooth. These components are inside the tooth and are usually what provides the pain and sensitivity sensations to your body from the tooth. The level of infection and tooth location determine the length and complexity of the procedure. Depending on the shape, location, size, and diagnosis of the tooth, either Dr. Wadood will perform the root canal for you or refer you to one of our trusted specialists. During the procedure, Dr. Wadood will remove the infected pulp and bacteria from inside the tooth and its roots. The canals in the roots of your tooth are cleaned, shaped, and sterilized so that they can be properly sealed. The roots are not removed during this procedure, and the tooth usually stays intact in your mouth ready to receive a final restoration to restore function. A crown is usually the best and sometimes only option to restore the tooth. This is because once the pulp and nerves are removed from the tooth, the tooth can become brittle, weak, and prone to fracture. The crown is added to protect the tooth from further damage. Root canals generally only require local anesthesia, and you can remain awake during the process. They are a great option when trying to save a tooth and keep it in your mouth.

What is a Tooth Extraction?

An extraction is exactly what it sounds like, the removal or extraction of a tooth. The goal of removing a tooth can vary based on the condition of your mouth. A dentist may recommend removing a tooth from a crowded mouth to enhance your smile, due to an infection that is causing pain, or due to a fracture or crack that can’t be fixed. The type of extraction necessary depends on the location and complexity of the tooth and its positioning. Some teeth are located under the gum line and require extraction through the gums. In certain cases, Dr. Wadood may recommend that an oral surgeon who is specially trained to handle more difficult extractions complete your case for you. Extraction is a better option when the tooth is causing complex problems or cannot be fixed or restored. After an extraction, you no longer have the tooth in your mouth and may often be left with a gap or hole in its place. Make sure you discuss options to replace the tooth with Dr. Wadood such as an implant, a fixed bridge, or a removable partial denture. 

What is the Better Option?

There is no ‘better option” as the best option for you will depend on the issue at hand. Some problems can only be solved by one method or the other. When debating between the two, it is best to talk to your dentist. Saving the tooth is always the goal, but your dentist can help you decide which is best for you. Root canals remove bacteria and save the tooth. Extractions can solve many issues from infection to overcrowding. It is always best to choose the option that will help prevent further issues. 

For more information on either service visit our website and check out our services page. Fulton Family Dentistry provides a variety of services and can help with all your dental needs.

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