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When is Root Canal Treatment Preferable over a Dental Extraction?

Do you have a badly damaged or decayed tooth?

When bacteria and infection reach the pulp chamber of a tooth, patients generally have only two choices: root canal treatment or an extraction. But how do you know which option is right for you? At Silverwood Dental Clinic in Saskatoon, SK, we prefer to save natural teeth whenever possible. Today, we will explore these two options, and discuss how root canal therapy can save you from an extraction and help preserve your oral health.

About root canal treatment

During root canal treatment, all internal tissues, including the blood vessels and nerves, are removed from the affected tooth. Then, the surfaces are thoroughly disinfected before filling the tooth with a rubbery dental material. Finally, a filling or dental crown is used to seal the tooth and protect it from further bacteria. While the gum tissue around the tooth may be tender for a few days, the source of infection is removed. Therefore, any severe pain should be eradicated during the procedure itself. While there is, of course, no guarantee, root canal treatment can successfully save a tooth for many years when performed properly.

When is root canal therapy recommended?

During a consultation at our dental practice, your dentist can perform a full assessment to determine if root canal treatment is right for you. Generally speaking, there must be sufficient healthy tooth structure intact for a root canal to work effectively. If your dentist determines that your tooth has a good long-term prognosis with treatment, then root canal therapy will most likely be recommended.

About dental extractions

A dental extraction can be considered the “last resort” in terms of tooth treatment. To perform this procedure, the gum tissue around the tooth is gently moved back. The tooth is then loosened and carefully lifted from the socket. In most cases, tooth replacement will be necessary for the long-term health of your smile. A single missing tooth can be replaced with a traditional dental bridge or a dental implant, depending on your particular situation.

When is an extraction recommended?

Typically, a dental extraction is recommended when a tooth has a poor long-term prognosis. If your dentist does not believe that root canal treatment will save your tooth ­– or that it may only be successful for a couple of years – he or she will suggest an extraction. For example, if most of the tooth structure is damaged, root canal therapy will probably not be successful in the long run. Additionally, if a tooth has a vertical root fracture, it cannot be saved and must therefore be removed.

In Conclusion

Essentially, when deciding between root canal treatment and an extraction, it is important to look at risk vs benefit. If the tooth can be predictably treated with root canal therapy, it can restore your bite function and save you from more extensive procedures in the future. However, if the outcome is simply too unreliable, a dental extraction will be in your best interest.

Contact our Saskatoon, SK dental office to learn more

If you have an infected or abscessed tooth, knowing which treatment to choose can be overwhelming. Our dentists at Silverwood Dental, located on Lenore Dr. between Warman Rd. and Primrose Dr., can perform a comprehensive evaluation to determine which treatment option will best serve your long-term dental needs. To learn more, call us at 306-242-5233 or contact us online.