When one of your teeth becomes infected, your dentist may present you with a couple different treatment options. You could undergo root canal therapy, which can preserve the tooth and allow it to function as a pain-free part of your smile. Or you might opt to get the tooth removed altogether. Is one option better than the other? Let’s take a moment to consider root canal vs. extraction.
Root Canal Therapy: Pros and Cons
The primary advantage of root canal therapy is that it allows you to keep your tooth. This can prevent the nearby teeth from drifting out of place as well as preserve the aesthetics of your smile. And although root canal therapy tends to cost more upfront than an extraction, it can actually save you money in the long run because it spares you from having to pay for a dental implant or other form of tooth replacement.
Root canal therapy also has a few cons. It is a relatively extensive treatment, which means it can take longer than an extraction. There is also a very small chance that the initial treatment will leave some of the infection behind in the tooth, leading to the need for endodontic retreatment later on.
What about the popular claim that root canal therapy can make you sick? This widespread notion has no basis in solid scientific research. Your dental team will be happy to explain to you why root canal therapy is generally quite safe.
Extractions: Pros and Cons
A tooth extraction is a relatively quick and inexpensive procedure. It can end your toothache, and you will never have to worry about the possibility of getting that tooth retreated later on.
Despite the advantages of extractions, though, they come with some downsides. Removing a tooth may cause the nearby ones to drift out of place, leading to a misaligned bite. The jawbone at the site of the missing tooth will also begin to deteriorate. There is even a risk that further tooth loss could occur in the future. Many people are also concerned about the way a missing tooth can make their smile look.
Which Is Better?
In most cases, root canal therapy is better for long-term oral health than an extraction. However, there are some situations — such as when the damage to a tooth is particularly severe — where extraction is the preferred course of action. After your dentist examines your tooth, they will be able to make a personalized treatment recommendation. They will also be happy to answer your questions about all of your treatment options so you can make a confident, informed decision about how to move forward.
Meet the Practice
Dr. Timothy Vacek has been serving patients at Amberly Dental since 2009. He is an accomplished general dentist who is passionate about providing the highest quality care to his patients. If you are suffering with a damaged tooth and have questions about your treatment options, he would be happy to speak with you. Contact our office at 402-786-2007.