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Why your dentist may recommend root canal treatment instead of tooth extraction

Root Canal Treatment in HoustonA persistent tooth ache is one of the most miserable pains a person can experience, and after a few days of it, you may be ready to just have the offending tooth yanked out – anything to get rid of the pain, and fast! But when you go see your dentist, he suggests a root canal.

When you’re in pain, tooth extraction my seem like the logical choice to quickly fix the problem. And while your dentist will certainly aim to deliver quick pain relief, he will also keep your long-term dental health in mind.

Keeping your natural tooth in place is almost always the preferred option, whenever possible. That’s because your natural teeth keep your jaw bone healthy as well. Missing teeth over an extended period of time can lead to bone loss in the jaw, because the bone will shrink without the support of teeth. This, in turn, can result in sunken cheeks and a weaker jaw. In addition, the gap where your natural tooth once sat can give your remaining teeth room to shift, possibly resulting in misalignment and reduced function of your bite.

As much as possible, your dentist will attempt to preserve your natural tooth in an effort to keep your mouth as healthy as possible, for as long as possible.

What happens during the root canal procedure?

The dentist will begin the root canal procedure by drilling an access hole into your tooth. He then inserts a series of root canal files (with increasing diameter) to remove the pulp from the root of the tooth. After thoroughly scraping and cleaning the tooth, and removing all traces of infection, the dentist may place medication inside the tooth before sealing it with a temporary filling. You’ll be asked to return for a follow-up visit after a week or so to receive a permanent filling.

Sometimes, the dentist may choose to permanently seal the tooth on the same day.

Root canal pain

The myth that getting a root canal hurts is just that – a myth.

Summit Dental Center dentists will keep your comfort in mind throughout any procedure, including root canals. We offer a full range of sedation options to ensure you won’t feel any discomfort. Talk to your dentist about oral sedation or even general anesthesia if you’re worried that local anesthesia injected into your gums or laughing gas may not put you at ease entirely.

Whichever sedation option you choose, relief from your tooth pain is nearly immediate. Once the dentist begins with the root canal procedure, you won’t feel a thing. Afterward, your dentist may prescribe pain killers to keep you comfortable while you recover at home.

Root canals don’t hurt – teeth that need one, do.

Root canal cost

Some people think that tooth extractions not only address the tooth pain faster, but that they’re less expensive as well. While it may be true that getting a tooth pulled costs less than a root canal procedure at first glance, the initial treatment of extraction is only part of the equation.

Unless you’re comfortable living with a gap in your mouth, you must eventually consider the cost of tooth replacement. Getting dentures, a bridge, or a dental implant can easily put the cost of an extraction above the cost of a root canal.

Also consider that root canals are typically covered at least in part by dental insurance benefits, while dentures or dental implants may not be, depending on your insurance benefits.

No insurance? No problem. Summit Dental Center offers dental financing with affordable payment plans that allow you to get the treatment you need, when you need it. Whether your dentist recommends a root canal or an extraction is in order, we can finance your procedure – without a credit check!

When is an extraction necessary?

Although your dentist’s priority is to save your natural tooth, this is not always possible. In some cases of advanced decay, for example, the tooth may be beyond repair and an extraction will be necessary. Other times when your dentist may recommend extraction instead of a root canal may be if your tooth already has a large filling that leaves little natural tooth to work with, or if it has been weakened by several major treatments in the past.

If an extraction is indicated, your dentist may discuss tooth replacement options with you. For a single tooth replacement, a dental implant or a dental bridge are typically recommended. Dental implants are the gold standard in tooth replacement therapy as they provide maximum stability and function, and can last a lifetime with proper care. Dental implants also mimic your natural tooth root. They are firmly anchored into your jaw bone and, as a result, help prevent bone loss. Find out more about dental implants by Summit Dental Center here.

An ounce of prevention…

More often than not, root canals and tooth extractions become necessary when a decaying tooth is left untreated for a long period of time.

Sometimes, you may not even realize you have a cavity until advanced decay sets in, which is why regular dental checkups are so important. Your dentist can detect problems before they turn into major issues. A small, simple cavity is easier and less costly to treat than a severely decayed tooth!

Other times, we find that patients are well aware that they have a decaying tooth, and may even suffer in silence before the pain becomes unbearable and they call us for an emergency dental appointment. Unfortunately by then, the dentist usually has few options for treatment left and major procedures are often needed.

Some people delay treatment due to financial or scheduling issues. At Summit Dental Center we understand that your time is valuable and taking time off work or family obligations isn’t always feasible. That’s why we offer extended evening and weekend hours for your convenience. Plus, our affordable dental payment plans help with the financial burden of dental care.

Contact Summit Dental Center to learn more about root canals, extractions, dental implants and more. Same-day appointments are available! Call 713-425-0450 today!