root canal or tooth extraction

Which is Better: Root Canal or Tooth Extraction?

April 19, 2022

With any tooth issue, there is usually a certain procedure that is recommended over others. That is true for root canals and tooth extractions as well.

Over 15 million people a year get root canals done while surgical tooth extractions are the most common surgical procedure performed in the US. Each dental treatment comes with its own ways to improve your oral health.

This article will go over each dental treatment, what it is and its benefits over the other. Let’s check out which one is best for your needs and will keep your smile shining for years to come.

What is a Root Canal?

Root canal is a dental treatment that repairs badly damaged or infected teeth. This is in contrast to extractions which remove the teeth completely. Root canals aim to save the tooth instead. While many fear root canals, with dental advances and local anesthetics that are now available, most people who get root canals have little to no pain during their root canal. A root canal removes the decaying or infected pulp inside the tooth, while keeping the crown (visible part above the gums) intact. 

When is a Root Canal Necessary?

A root canal may be necessary if you begin to exhibit some or all of these warning signs:

  • Tooth sensitivity that lingers and gets worse with hot or cold food and drinks
  • Sharp pain when chewing or when biting down
  • Pimples on your gums
  • Cracked or chipped teeth
  • Swollen, red or painful gums
  • Dark or decaying gums

It is important not to ignore the above symptoms. If left untreated, the bacteria or infection in your tooth could cause an abscess or the infection could spread to other parts of your body. An infection in the root canal of a tooth can also cause swelling that could possibly spread to other areas of the face, neck, or head, bone loss near the root, or drainage issues.

What is a Tooth Extraction?

Tooth extractions or tooth pulling, is a common and relatively easy dental procedure. If you are experiencing advanced tooth decay, any manner of tooth infection, and/ or tooth crowding, you may need to get a tooth extraction.

Tooth extractions (surgical) are the most common surgical procedure done in the United States and there are many dentists who make a living by just pulling teeth. This outpatient procedure is done by a dentist or oral surgeon with either local or general anesthesia. If the decaying tooth is visible, a simple extraction is done. If the tooth or teeth are below the surface, broken or impacted, it requires the surgical procedure.

Do I Need a Tooth Extraction?

There are several reasons why your dentist may suggest a tooth extraction for you, such as:

  • Impaction
  • tooth decay
  • periodontal and gum disease
  • tooth trauma, or overcrowding

Which is the Best Choice?

In most cases, a root canal will be recommended over a tooth extraction when it comes to treating an infected or decaying tooth. Your dentist will always try to save the tooth whenever possible, but there are always exceptions, such as the tooth being damaged beyond what a root canal can fix.

Sometimes, it is in the best interest of the person to extract the tooth due to monetary issues. But root canals save teeth so the person won’t have to deal with the trauma of missing teeth or having to pay to get a fake tooth. Your dentist will help you go over all your options and determine which procedure is the best option for you and your smile.

Get Professional and Compassionate Dental Care with Carrie Muzny DDS

Carrie Muzny DDS offers the highest-quality dental services and care for our patients in The Woodlands and surrounding areas. With state-of-the-art technology and a vast range of smile-perfecting procedures, from cosmetic to restorative, we stay at the top of our field and deliver smiles as sunny as the state of Texas!

To let us help you get that perfect smile, contact us today or request a virtual consultation!

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