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Is it better to get a root canal treatment or a tooth extraction?

29 July 2022by Shiv

With increasing unhealthy eating trends, and neglecting oral hygiene, it is fairly common to have dental caries/tooth decay nowadays. This poses a risk of infection spreading to adjacent structures, and the tooth becomes extensively damaged. Infection may even enter the bloodstream and prove to be fatal. Symptoms such as unbearable pain while eating, chewing, or speaking, inflammation surrounding the tooth, pus oozing out of it, or restricted oral movements are indicative of substantial tooth damage, and appropriate intervention has to be done. Even trauma can lead to comprehensive tooth damage and infection. The treatment options discussed here, i.e., root canal treatment and tooth extraction, are both the ultimate resorts used when the tooth is considerably damaged and are, therefore, not some pleasing options to hear from your dentist.


Root canal treatment: Root canal treatment, also known as endodontic therapy, is a dental procedure in which infected dental pulp is removed thoroughly, and an access cavity is created. This cavity is de-contaminated and irrigated with the help of an irrigating solution. It is the most crucial step as it clears the infection by killing the microbes present. Finally, the clear and infection-free cavity is filled with the root canal filling material called gutta-percha, and a crown may be placed over it for safety purposes.


Tooth extraction: As the name indicates, tooth extraction means removing or pulling out of the tooth from its dental alveolus or socket in the alveolar bone. It is a simple procedure, and the tooth is pulled out with the help of different types of forceps. Hemostasis is maintained, and the patient is ready to go home within 1 hour.

In some cases, such as an impacted wisdom tooth, surgical tooth extraction must be performed where an incision is made on the gum, and the tooth is broken into pieces to remove it.


How to know if you need a root canal treatment or extraction?


The answer to this question varies from person to person.  If the infection has not entirely damaged your tooth and it is capable of enduring a root canal treatment, then it should be the preferred choice. The significant advantage of Root canal treatment is that it can save your tooth and keep your natural smile intact, thereby being a more aesthetic option as compared to extraction. But with newer technology and varied options, you can get the gap created due to extraction, filled by an artificial tooth as well.

So, the decision now depends on the condition of your teeth and the option that would be more satisfying to you.


Root canal treatment vs. dental extraction?

Before making a decision on which option to choose, you must consider the following points and understand the details of both.

  • The biggest and the most important advantage of Root canal treatment is that your natural tooth can be saved.
  • Tooth extraction is irreversible; once extracted, you can never get your tooth back. On the contrary, root canal treatment can salvage your tooth.
  • You will require a permanent prosthesis if you get a tooth extraction; otherwise, the gap created will hinder your mouth’s functions and become a blotch on your smile.
  • Tooth extraction may lead to post-extraction bleeding or other complications such as a dry socket when the wisdom tooth is extracted.
  • A root canal treatment saves the tooth, but it becomes relatively fragile compared to the natural tooth.


Commonly asked questions


What is cheaper: Root canal treatment or dental extraction?

Tooth extraction is a simple and straightforward procedure most of the time. A surgical approach may be required in case of impacted wisdom tooth, but in general, tooth extraction does not require any major process. On the other hand, root canal treatment is a more sophisticated procedure and involves the use of specialised equipment and certain chemicals for irrigating and filling the cavity. A crown may also be placed to protect the root canal treated tooth. Therefore, dental extraction is a much cheaper procedure and can be performed within a few minutes.


Is root canal treatment painful?

It is a very common misconception that most people have. Root canal treatment is performed under local anaesthesia and is completely painless. The tenderness you will experience is due to the inflamed tooth filled with pus, and even on touching it, you may feel harrowing pain. However, the procedure in itself does not cause any pain because it is performed after administering proper anaesthesia. Instead, it will relieve your pain as it will clear the infection and remove all the pus, which was causing pain. The inflammation will also subside eventually, and your natural tooth will be restored.


How long will it take for my tooth to heal after a root canal treatment?

The root canal treatment is a complicated procedure, and it takes about 2-3 hours to perform. You may experience some discomfort and mild pain after the procedure for a few days. This is because the procedure is invasive. It doesn’t require particular medications and will subside on its own after a few days. You can take over the counter analgesics for pain relief or apply an ice pack over the area. However, if the pain persists for more than a week, you should consult your dentist and get it checked. You may also experience slight sensitivity for the initial few days, which will also resolve on its own, and you should not worry about it.


What is the recovery period after dental extraction?

It is common to have mild pain after tooth extraction. For 24 hours, you should avoid solid food items. It would be best if you also refrained from doing any strenuous physical activity as the blood clot may get dislodged and lead to excessive bleeding. It would help if you did not rinse your mouth or brush your teeth for 24 hours. It takes almost one week for the site of extraction to heal completely.


You should consult a skilled dentist while dealing with your teeth. Conway House Dental Practice in High Wycombe is the best dental service in town, providing a warm and friendly environment and world-class dental treatments. If you have any concerns you can call our reception on 01494526578 and our staff would be happy to help you.

We are a friendly team of dentists, hygienists and receptionists who work together to ensure that you receive the best treatment you require.

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