Root canals and tooth extractions are very different procedures that have very different outcomes for you and your teeth. Both serve an important purpose and both are used in different situations in restorative dentistry. Let’s help you understand what the differences are so you and your Bowling Green dentist can make the best choice for you.
A root canal is used when the interior pulp of the tooth is damaged, or even dead. This is where the nerves reside, so damage to the pulp can be extremely painful. Root canals are the choice if you want to save the tooth. The procedure involves numbing the tooth with local anesthetic, opening a pathway to expose the nerve canals, cleaning the tooth of decay and damaged tissue, disinfecting the area, and then filling the canals to seal against infection after the procedure. 3D imaging is used when needed in the opening process.
Most people do have some discomfort after having a root canal, but over-the-counter pain relievers can be used to help with any discomfort that you might feel with your tooth. Contact your dentist if you need any post-operative care.
Tooth extraction is when a tooth is removed from a patient's mouth. It is used when the tooth is too far gone to be saved, even with a root canal. The procedure begins by numbing the area before your dentist uses special tools to loosen and then remove the tooth. You will likely hear some popping and cracking sounds during the extraction, but there should be no pain.
After the extraction, it is common for the area to bleed and to have some pain. Your dentist will provide instructions on how to care for the area after the procedure, as well as provide a prescription for a pain reliever if it is necessary. Some people are able to manage the pain with over-the-counter pain relievers such as Tylenol or Advil as well.
If it is possible to save the tooth, that is usually the course of action you should take. Modern dentistry can replace a tooth that has been removed, but it will never be the same as a natural tooth. Additionally, the healing process from an extraction takes longer and can lead to more dental procedures in the future, replacing the removed tooth with a bridge or denture for example.
Ultimately the decision on whether you have an extraction or a root canal is made by you. Discuss it with your dentist, take some time to consider your options, and make the choice that you feel is right.
Contact us and Dr. Bryan Packard and his team will help you make the best choices for your oral health. We have the experience and expertise to perform any procedure, always putting the patient’s needs first.