Root Canal vs. Extraction: Factors to Consider
- June 20, 2018
An infected tooth usually calls for one of two dental procedures: a root canal or extraction. Dr. Thomas Peltzer performs both of these treatments in our Plainville, CT dentist office. So root canal vs. extraction, how do you decide which one is best for your situation?
Among the factors you’ll want to consider are: degree of your dental damage, your overall oral health, any time or schedule constraints, and your budget.
We’ll recommend one of the two procedures when your tooth’s pulp, or soft center, is infected. If the pulp of your tooth is damaged, we won’t be able to fix it with a dental restoration like a filling or crown.
It’s an important decision! We’ll answer your questions and walk you through all of the possibilities so you can make the right choice. Call Gentle Dental Care at 860-479-2397 to make an appointment. In the meantime, we’ve provided some information here that we hope you’ll find useful.
Root Canal vs. Extraction: What Happens to Your Tooth
The biggest difference between a root canal and an extraction is obviously what happens to your tooth. A root canal keeps your tooth intact, while a extraction removes the tooth.
In general, it’s a good idea to keep your tooth if you can. An intact tooth helps keep your other teeth from shifting out of place. And the tooth root stimulates your jaw, so it stays healthy and strong. Without stimulation, the bone in your jaw begins to deteriorate. Over time, this affects your oral health and makes you look older too.
To perform a root canal procedure, Dr. Peltzer makes an incision in the top of your tooth and uses special tools to remove damaged pulp. He thoroughly cleans and disinfects the inside of your tooth to make sure all of the infection is gone. Then he fills the inside of your tooth with a rubbery material called gutta percha. Finally, he seals your tooth with a filling or dental crown to protect it from further damage.
For an extraction, he loosens your tooth with an instrument called an elevator then removes it with forceps. If your tooth is broken so that it’s below the gumline, he’ll surgically remove it.
The nature of your dental damage often determines whether a root canal or an extraction is best. Two situations where we may recommend removing your tooth: if the overall structure of your tooth is compromised, not just the pulp, and if a cavity or crack in the tooth is so deep it extends below your gumline.
If just the pulp of your tooth is compromised, a root canal makes sense because we can remove the pulp and the bacteria that can lead to bigger problems. And you won’t need to worry about a tooth replacement!
Root Canal vs. Extraction: Length of Procedure
Root canal therapy usually takes from 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the extent of dental damage. Even a complicated extraction rarely takes more than an hour. So the extraction is certainly quicker. However, most people take longer to recover from an extraction. With an extraction, it’s common to experience some bleeding and swelling for up to 24 hours. You’ll need to be careful while eating and brushing your teeth for at least a few days.
With a root canal, there is no blood and little if any discomfort. The area may feel tender, especially if you had an abscess. But you won’t need to make any major modifications to your diet or oral hygiene routine in the days following a root canal procedure.
Root Canal vs. Extraction: Cost
The upfront cost of a root canal procedure is more than an extraction. It will cost at least $1,000, including the cost of a dental restoration like a crown. In contrast, an extraction shouldn’t cost more than $500. However, if you replace your tooth after an extraction with a dental implant or other tooth replacement – and we recommend you do – the total cost will be quite similar.
With Either Procedure, We’ll Ease Your Anxiety
No matter which procedure you choose, you’ll likely feel some anxiety. We understand! We’ll thoroughly numb you with local anesthesia before either procedure so you won’t feel a thing. We can also keep you comfortable with pillows and blankets while you’re in our chair. And you can choose from three forms of dental sedation: inhaled sedation (“laughing gas”), an oral sedative, or IV sedation.
Root canal vs. extraction, there’s definitely a lot to consider. We’re happy to help any way we can! Call Gentle Dental Care at 860-479-2397.