Tooth decay is one of the most common dental problems. Caused due to poor oral hygiene, infections and other oral habits, tooth decay can often lead to cavities, which might eventually require treatment. In addition to causing discomfort, pain or swelling, this can also affect a person’s smile and self-confidence. Such a condition requires immediate medical attention.
A dentist will recommend a root canal or tooth extraction depending upon the condition of the decayed tooth. The two procedures are quite different from each other. let us find out how:
Table of Contents
Feel free to skip ahead if one topic catches your eye:
- Root Canal and Tooth Extraction Explained
- Conditions that need Root Canal
- Conditions that need Tooth Extraction
- Possible Risks
- Making the right decision
1. Root Canal and Tooth Extraction Explained
When treating an infected or decayed tooth, two of the most common treatments include a root canal or a tooth extraction. When debating about root canal vs tooth extraction, there are a few things about each procedure that one should be aware of.
1. Root Canal
In a root canal treatment, the dentist cleans and restores the infected tooth without extracting it.
During a root canal treatment, the dentist first examines the patient’s entire oral cavity using digital scans or X-Rays.
- Then, they administer local anaesthesia to reduce any pain the patient might experience.
- After administering anaesthesia, the dentist places a vinyl or rubber sheet on the infected tooth and the teeth adjacent to it.
- Next, the dentist tries to clean the infected part of the tooth by drilling the enamel and then identifies the pulp canals.
- Once all the canals are identified, the infected pulp tissue is removed and pulp canals are prepared for restoration.
- Finally, they use root canal fillings to fill the empty canals and restore the crown as well.
After a root canal, the patient will be asked to avoid eating solid food for a couple of days. They will also need to take the prescribed antibiotics and other medication to control any pain or discomfort.
– Advantages of Root canal
- It is usually a pain-free procedure.
- It prevents any chances of re-infection.
- It helps to preserve the natural tooth and restores its function.
2. Tooth Extraction
Tooth extraction is a procedure wherein the dentist extracts the infected tooth from the patient’s mouth.
The dentist administers local anaesthesia to numb the infected area. This way, the patient does not feel any pain during the extraction. Then, the dentist will use a lever-like tool to loosen the infected tooth from the socket. They will then use forceps to extract the affected tooth. It is common to feel a little pressure during the extraction.
Once the tooth is extracted, the dentist will place some gauze on the extracted area for some time to soak the post-extraction bleeding.
It usually takes around 7 to 10 days to recover from a tooth extraction. Since the patient will be under anaesthesia during the procedure, they will most likely feel some discomfort and pain once the anaesthesia wears off. Additionally, they will be asked to consume soft foods or liquids for a few days after the procedure. This will reduce the possibilities of any bleeding or infections. The patient must leave the gauze placed by the dentist at the extraction site for up to three to four hours after the procedure.
It is also advisable to avoid rinsing, spitting or using a straw for up to 24 hours after the extraction. This will ensure that the blood clot does not dislodge. Post that, they must rinse their mouth with a salt solution made of warm water and salt. Slight bleeding for up to 24 hours after the extraction is common, in addition to facial swelling. However, the patient can use ice packs on the day of extraction to reduce pain and inflammation.
– Advantages of Tooth Extraction
- Tooth extraction helps to protect the teeth adjacent to the infected tooth
- A tooth extraction treats the source of the problem
2. Conditions that need Root Canal
If the patient has a deep cavity, loose filling or a cracked tooth, the pulp may get infected due to bacteria, which will eventually damage it completely and cause infections in the bone.
To treat this infection and to stop it from spreading any further, a root canal treatment is necessary, failing which the tooth may become loose and may require an extraction. Some conditions that need a root canal include:
- Extreme pain while biting or chewing
- Cracked tooth
- Severe sensitivity to heat or cold
- Swollen or tender gums
- Decay in the gums
- Tooth injury
- Discoloration of a tooth
3. Conditions that need Tooth Extraction
When a person is suffering from extreme tooth decay, has a severe tooth infection or teeth crowding, tooth extraction may be required. Additionally, teeth that are broken, present below the gums or greatly impacted also need a tooth extraction. To treat these conditions and prevent the infection from affecting the teeth surrounding the affected tooth, dentists recommend getting a tooth extraction done. This removes the infection from the root cause. Other conditions that need a tooth extraction include:
- When the growth of one tooth pushes against another tooth in a direct manner
- Periodontal or gum disease due to build-up of tartar and plaque
- Trauma due to injury or accident
- Overcrowding of the teeth
- Severely decayed teeth with minimal or no tooth structure
- To remove any milk teeth which fail to shed off and cause hindrance in eruption of permanent teeth.
- Where the tooth is not accessible by the dentist to perform the root canal, such as wisdom teeth.
4. Possible Risks
In the battle of root canal vs tooth extraction, there is one major question that arises. Most people are concerned about which is a more painful Root canal or Tooth Extraction?
While both of these procedures are safe and approachable, it is important to note that a person undergoing either of the procedures may feel some pain and discomfort. Additionally, as is with any other procedure, both the treatments have some risks associated with them, although they are quite uncommon.
Some possible risks of a root canal treatment include:
- Mild temporary pain
- Inflammation of tissues after the removal of pulp
- Change in the colour of the affected tooth
Some possible risks associated with a tooth extraction include:
- Inflammation and redness at the extraction site
- Dry Socket
At the Ministry of Smile, you can get the best treatment and care for your dental problems at affordable costs. The clinic is equipped with the latest equipment and the dentists here are experienced professionals who use the latest techniques to treat infected teeth with minimal risk or side effects.
5. Making the right choice
When deciding whether to go for a root canal treatment or a tooth extraction, it is essential to consult with a dentist to determine the severity of the infection. If the pulp tissue is infected, but the tooth structure is intact,a root canal is usually preferred. In contrast, if the tooth is damaged beyond repair, letting it go using a tooth extraction is the only safe option.
However, it is important to consult specialists and let them make the best decision for you. The choice between the two procedures highly varies with case to case. At the Ministry of Smile, you will get the proper guidance according to your concerns from the specialists.
In conclusion, while both root canal and tooth extraction are safe methods to treat tooth decay and infections, both have their fair share of advantages and disadvantages. You can replace a missing tooth with modern dentistry, but it will not look the same as your natural teeth. Moreover, recovery from a tooth extraction takes longer as compared to a root canal and is often quite painful.
However, tooth extraction may be good for those who have teeth which cannot be salvaged, even after getting a root canal. While a root canal treatment can delay the need for an extraction, it can also further damage the other teeth. For this reason, it is important to consult with experienced dentists and consider the best options for you.