Do you have a tooth that needs a root canal? This is a very common dental procedure that restores and preserves an infected or severely decayed tooth. Of course there is another option; to have the tooth removed. Which is better, to have a root canal to save the tooth or to have a tooth extracted? Let’s compare the options.
Pros and Cons of a Root Canal
There are many reasons your dentist will recommend a root canal. If you have a tooth with a deep cavity that reaches the inner root canal where the soft pulp resides, the tooth may become infected. The soft pulp includes the blood vessels and nerves that keep the tooth alive. An infection can be extremely painful, and if the tooth loses its blood supply, it will be considered dead.
A root canal procedure can save the tooth by removing the soft pulp from inside the root canal of the tooth and filling it with dental material to prevent infection. Sometimes it will need to be finished with a crown, but the existing root remains in place. This gives you a result that looks and functions like a natural tooth.
One disadvantage of a root canal is that the procedure is typically more expensive than a tooth extraction. If you have dental insurance, it may cover a portion of the cost depending on your plan. But there will likely still be some out of pocket cost. A tooth extraction may also include some out of pocket cost, but perhaps less. The best way to compare the cost is to check with your insurance provider.
Another deterrent to getting a root canal for some patients is dental anxiety. Some people are just not comfortable with dental procedures. But a root canal is actually less painful than a tooth extraction. You won’t feel any pain during either procedure with local anesthesia, but a tooth extraction may leave you with a spore spot afterwards.
Pros and Cons of Extraction
Patients who choose extraction tend to do so because it typically costs less than a root canal. It may also take a slightly shorter time in the dentist’s chair. It can be completed in one appointment, where a root canal with a crown may take a follow up appointment for a crown fitting.
But there are definite disadvantages to tooth extraction. When you have a permanent tooth removed it leaves a gap in your mouth. Your other teeth may gradually shift out of place because of this empty space. If you were to decide to replace the tooth later, a dental implant or bridge would be much more expensive than a root canal and crown.
It can also be painful to chew on the side of your mouth with the missing tooth. The portion of the jaw that held the tooth in place will start to weaken and deteriorate. As a result, the other teeth can become loose.
The Best Option: Root Canal
Ultimately, dentists recommend the root canal because it saves the existing tooth. Keeping your natural tooth in place promotes the health of your other teeth and the support structures in your mouth. You’ll be able to speak and chew your food properly. And the restored tooth will likely last for the rest of your life, which makes it a worthwhile investment. You’ll even save money by preventing the need for future dental work that could result from the missing tooth.
Eagle Endodontics Recommends Root Canals in Most Cases
For most patients, a root canal is the recommended procedure for preserving the tooth and promoting future dental health. At Eagle Endodontics, we always recommend the best procedure for the patient’s long term dental and overall health. If the tooth cannot be saved with a root canal, we may recommend an extraction with a replacement option such as a dental implant. But we never recommend leaving an empty space in your mouth where a tooth used to be.