Root Canal or Extraction: Which Choice is Best?

Root Canal or Extraction: Which Choice is Best?

June 2nd, 2021

At Cedar Spring Family Dentistry, one common decision we help our patients with is; what to do about a an infected, or necrotic tooth? Once a tooth is injured, cracked or decayed, it can become infected. The infection is accompanied by the following severe symptoms:

  • Severe throbbing that radiates to the jawbone
  • Temperature sensitivity (hot or cold)
  • Fever
  • Swelling in face or cheek
  • Sensitivity to chewing

Experiencing Tooth Pain? 

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Two Approaches for Infected Teeth

The consistent pain and above symptoms are unmistakable for most patients. When a patient comes to Cedar Spring with an infected tooth, generally there are two approaches that we take:

  1. Endodontic therapy (root canal) removes the infected tissue from the inside of the tooth and roots. This allows the infection in the surrounding bone to heal and the pain to go away. This procedure is almost always followed with a crown or ceramic restoration to provide strength to the functional portion of the tooth.
  2. Root and tooth removal (extraction) also allows the infection in the surrounding bone to heal and the pain to go away. Some people choose to replace the missing tooth with an implant and crown, partial denture, or bridge. Some people decide not to replace the tooth which generally results in more force applied to the remaining teeth with higher risk of fracture.

Pros and Cons of these Procedures

Endodontic therapy pros:

  • retention of natural tooth/roots (no replacement needed)
  • no surgery
  • less post-operative pain
  • normally functioning tooth
  • better esthetics/gum tissue profile
  • lower fees than extraction and implant

Endodontic therapy cons:

  • not 100% effective, some cases fail prematurely
  • weakens the roots and tooth, increasing risk of root fracture and extraction
  • possible failure of restoration even after the internal therapy is completed
  • longer appointment than an extraction

Extraction pros:

  • “one and done” 100% effective treatment
  • with proper implant placement and crown, a longer serviceable life, statistically than endo/crown

Extraction cons:

  • tooth replacement indicated
  • replacement options can require several months of healing to accomplish
  • higher risk of damage to remaining teeth
  • more post-operative pain
  • tooth replacement option usually more expensive

If you are experiencing tooth pain, swelling, or any of the above symptoms, call our office right away. Complications can develop if a tooth abscess is left untreated.

Our Cedar Spring Family Dentistry team is here to help you. We offer a wide range of dental services to treat your oral care needs.

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