Root canal or tooth removal are last resort treatments when a tooth has suffered extensive damage, beyond the mere drill and fill procedure remedy. If we suffer from a cracked tooth or a deep cavity, to the dentist may suggest you get an extraction or a root canal to combat the issue. The ultimate choice of procedure depends on the severity and complexity of our issue. We often refer to these two as interchangeable but they are in reality very diverse procedures and come with their own pros and cons.
What is a Root Canal?
A root canal is a procedure wherein the dentist does not remove the infected or damaged tooth but treats it. In the process, the dentist removes the damaged part within the inside of the tooth. The part left behind is the pulp, which is the dentist then cleans and disinfects. After this, the dentist applies filling to the tooth and then seals it. The term root canal exists because it is a problem where the pulp develops an infection and the dentists have to perform treatment inside the root of the tooth to heal the trauma.
What Does The Root Canal Treatment Involve?
The procedure is quite complex and begins with an x-ray. This is necessary for the dentist to locate the exact spot of damage inside the root. When the process is to begin, the patient receives a local anesthesia to induce numbness while the process is underway. The next step in the process is pulpectomy, in which the dentist makes an opening to extract the damaged pulp.
A material known as gutta-percha is then used to fill the opening and then to pack it with cement. Gutta-percha is a harmless material and the tooth suffers no damage from it. It comprises of coagulated latex of certain trees. In order to ensure proper healing, our dentist may secure the top of our tooth with a crown.
Where sensation is concerned, a root canal procedure is similar to that of filling, which include the least amount of discomfort associated with the filling.
You may wonder about the pain once the root canal treatment is complete. There is a possibility of patients experiencing a certain amount of pain for the first few days, ranging from dull to sharp. Patients are usually described certain over the counter pain but in case of extreme pain, one must immediately consult their dentist.
The Last Resort – Tooth Removal
When our dentist ascertains that there is no solution to rescue the tooth, you will have to undergo full tooth extraction as the last resort.
This process begins by the dentist numbing the area so that we can endure the procedure with as little pain as possible. The dentist uses special tools in order to loosen our tooth and then pull it out. Although this may sound highly doubtful to you, however the sensation we will likely feel at this point is the procedure is only some level of pressure.
There is certainty of bleeding after tooth extraction, for which purpose the dentist usually asks the patients to bite down on some gauze for the blood to clot. The patient may have to continuing biting down for around 45 minutes or so and may experience light bleeding for the day or two from the extraction site.
There is always a high chance of facial swelling after a tooth extraction but we can use icepacks for the swelling to subside and reduce inflammation. In addition, when we have undergone a tooth extraction it is best to consume foods that are soft and cool so that we can avoid irritation the area where the tooth used to be and is still sore. It is very advisable for one to be mentally prepared for the ordeal because it takes approximately three weeks for our mouths to return to normal in such an event. We must also brush with excessive care during this period.
Differences Between Root canal & Tooth Removal
There lies one major difference between a tooth extraction and a root canal. A root canal attempts to salvage our damaged tooth while a tooth removal takes away the tooth altogether. It is up to our dentists to determine which treatment option is the best for our case. One primary reason why a dentist may prescribe an extraction rather than a tooth removal is a compromised tooth structure.
A root canal makes sense when only the pulp suffers damage but the dentist can safely remove it to eliminate the bacteria that could cause infection. In the same way, when a crack in the tooth or cavity runs so deep that it cross the line below the gum and crumbles the structure of our tooth, an extraction is must in this case.
What Happens After an Extraction
After removing the tooth, our dentist can use a dental implant to replace it. This somehow links a root canal, an extraction and an implant altogether. The result is a false tooth that appears and functions like a real one.
For the best dental experience, contact us. We use the most advanced technologies available to give you a successful treatment for all your dental problems.
Young Bui, DDS
30 East 40th Street Suite 1201
New York, NY 10016