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When can root canal therapy prevent an extraction

By October 26, 2018

A root canal treatment can often be a workable and practical way of saving a tooth, preventing extraction. Ideally, a dentist will try to preserve a person’s natural tooth structure which is why a root canal is usually preferable to removing the tooth.

The general consensus from dental professionals is that it’s best to save the natural tooth whenever possible. Root canal therapy rescues damaged teeth from extraction.

Having your natural teeth in your mouth offers many benefits. For instance, each tooth in the mouth supports the teeth around it. So when a tooth is extracted, the neighboring teeth push into the gap. The natural tooth might also be used for setting a bridge, where an artificial tooth is fastened between two natural teeth.

Infection and Treatment

Bacteria can reach the tooth’s nerves and blood vessels, which regulate sensitivity and nourish the tooth, resulting in a painful root canal infection. When a tooth becomes badly infected, decayed, cracked, or otherwise injured, the dentist can work to save it if there is enough of the tooth remaining by removing the nerve and pulp from inside the tooth. The tooth will then be cleaned and sealed to protect and strengthen it. Multiple visits may be necessary to complete root canal therapy depending upon your situation.

Benefits of root canal therapy include:

  • A high success rate in saving the tooth
  • Restores your ability to bite and chew without pain
  • Prevents jawbone degeneration and other side effects of missing teeth
  • There is no need for implants
  • Improved appearance of the teeth and keeping your natural smile intact 

Waiting too long to see a dentist or ignoring dental pain can result in an inability to save enough of the tooth structure to perform root canal therapy, resulting in an evitable extraction. If the tooth has a very large cavity which compromises too much of your tooth’s structure, it will make it too weak to repair.  Also, if your tooth has a severe fracture or crack which extends down below the gum line it may not be restorable.  

Root canal therapy is usually more expensive than having a tooth extracted, however, the latter procedure involves getting a dental bridge or implant in place of the lost tooth. This means that the work needed to complement a tooth extraction can be more expensive than a root canal in the end. 

During your treatment, dentists may discuss with you the right option for you based upon their professional judgement. The available choices will depend on a number of factors specific to you.

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