If you are experiencing a severe toothache or dental abscess, there is a good chance your dentist will discuss two treatment possibilities: root canal therapy vs. extraction. Your treatment will depend on several unique factors, which can be explored during an oral examination.
In many cases, a damaged or decayed tooth can be repaired with root canal therapy. While it is always preferable to save teeth when possible, sometimes the damage is simply too extensive. In these situations, an extraction may be recommended. At The Smile Center in Virginia Beach, VA, our doctors provide both procedures, and can help you determine which one is most appropriate to address your dental needs.
If a tooth has an infected or damaged pulp, root canal therapy is necessary. Pulp damage can occur due to trauma or because of deep decay. If a damaged tooth is otherwise healthy and can support a dental restoration, root canal therapy can be performed to save the tooth. It is important to note that in order to save a tooth, there must be sufficient healthy tooth structure remaining.
During root canal therapy, the internal structure of the tooth is accessed. After removing the diseased pulp, tissues, and nerves, the canals will be thoroughly disinfected to eradicate all residual bacteria. Once the canals are cleaned, they will be filled with a malleable dental material called gutta percha, and the tooth will be sealed off with a composite resin material. After a short healing period, a dental crown can be placed to protect the tooth.
A damaged tooth that has a severe fracture, extensive decay, or a crack that extends down the root will need to be removed. If sufficient tooth structure is not present, root canal therapy may work for a short time, but will not be a long-lasting solution.
Extractions are typically more affordable than root canal therapy, but to understand the big picture, you must consider teeth replacement options as part of your treatment plan. Patients who have a tooth extracted have a few choices, which include:
When it comes to your oral health, the choice is ultimately yours to make. There are several factors to consider when deciding between root canal therapy and extraction, including cost, long-term goals, health condition, and more. Our doctors can help you determine a solution that will effectively meet your needs.
To find out more about root canal therapy and extractions, schedule a visit with one of our doctors. You can call our office at (757) 473-8482 or contact us online anytime.