Root Canal Therapy vs. Tooth Extraction: Options for Infected Teeth

By Dr. Silvers on December 02, 2017

A root canal infectionInside of each tooth is a bundle of soft tissue known as dental pulp. This collection of nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue were essential for the initial development and maturation of a tooth. When oral bacteria reaches the dental pulp as a result of tooth decay or injury, it can lead to infection. If this occurs, it's important to visit our Harrisburg dental practice for treatment.

There are two common ways to treat a root canal infection: root canal therapy (endodontic treatment) and tooth extraction. Let's take a moment to compare these two different procedures.

What Is Root Canal Therapy?

Also known as endodontic therapy, root canal therapy involves the removal of the infected dental pulp. The pulp chamber is then sterilized and filled to prevent further infection or the spread of infection. The treated tooth is capped with a crown to restore a person's ability to bite and chew.

Pain and Root Canal Therapy

Pop culture has made root canal therapy seem extremely painful. While many patients experience discomfort following root canal therapy, this soreness can be managed through the use of prescription pain killers and over-the-counter pain medications. Additionally, the pain associated with root canal therapy is preferable to the pain associated with an untreated tooth infection.

When Is Tooth Extraction Necessary?

When a tooth is toot damaged or decayed that it cannot be saved through root canal therapy, tooth extraction is the only viable option. This helps prevent the spread of further infection, which can lead to the formation of an abscess and other major health concerns.

Options for Replacing the Missing Tooth

When the tooth has been extracted, there are many options available to fill the tooth gap. A dental bridge may be most ideal to replace the missing tooth, though a dental crown supported by a single dental implant offers an unmatched level of stability. We can go over these options with you in greater detail during the consultation process.

Which Treatment Is More Ideal?

It's always preferable for a patient to keep as much of his or her tooth structure as possible. Given this fact, root canal therapy is a better option for treatment in general. However, root canal therapy is not always a viable option for all patients.

Keep in mind that we will always strive to restore or maintain as much of a patient's natural tooth and gum tissue as possible as part of our approach to dental care.

Prevention Is the Best Policy

As with many dental health problems, preventative care is the best option for treating root canal infections. Consider the following tips to help avoid tooth infections:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day (ideally after every meal)
  • Floss your teeth at least once a night (ideally after every meal)
  • Avoid sugary snacks and soft drinks
  • Do not use tobacco products
  • Drink water to stay hydrated throughout the day
  • Wear mouth protection when playing sports
  • Wear head/face protection when applicable
  • Visit your dentist twice a year for regular checkups

Learn More About Advanced Dental Care

For more information about treating root canal infections and improving your overall dental health and wellness, be sure to contact an experienced cosmetic and restorative dentist today. The team at Silvers Family Dental Care is here to help you experience good dental health and a beautiful smile.

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