Root Canal Therapy vs. Tooth Extraction: Which Treatment Is Best
By J. Brent Gorrell on December 18, 2017
If you are suffering from a severe toothache or dental sensitivity, you may have an infected tooth. Root canal therapy is an effective treatment for infection at our Mountain View, CA practice. This procedure, also known as endodontic therapy, can also be performed to treat severely cracked teeth.
If damage is too severe for a root canal, Dr. Gorrell may recommend tooth extraction. However, Dr. Gorrell wants to preserve your natural tooth whenever possible. Whatever treatment you ultimately receive, he will plan a procedure that will restore your oral health and the aesthetics of your smile.
What Is Root Canal Therapy?
Root canal therapy can save the outer structure of your tooth, even after it has been severely damaged. Prior to this treatment, Dr. Gorrell will numb your tooth and the nearby parts of your gums. Then he will clean out the inside of your tooth through a small opening in the crown.
Through this process, he can remove all infected pulp and bacteria. He will address the central chamber of your tooth and your root canals. These areas house your dental roots, as well as nerves and blood vessels.
When your tooth is infection-free, Dr. Gorrell will fill these areas with gutta percha. This soft material will seal the chambers, keeping out bacteria and preventing additional infection. Finally, he will place a crown, made from meticulous impressions of your tooth.
The Benefits of Root Canal Therapy over Extraction
Both root canal therapy and extraction would rid your mouth of infection and keep bacteria from spreading to other parts of your body. Nonetheless, Dr. Gorrell recommends extraction only as a last resort.
We can replace missing teeth with a variety of dental restorations. Still, even our state-of-the-art materials are no match for the strength and longevity of natural teeth. Plus, unless you receive a dental implant, your jawbone will start to shrink because your dental root is not there to stimulate new bone growth.
Root canal therapy is the only way to preserve your natural tooth following an infection.
When Is a Dental Extraction Appropriate?
While a root canal is the preferred solution, there are some situations in which Dr. Gorrell will recommend an extraction:
- The infection is so far spread that it has compromised the majority of your tooth structure.
- You have already had a root canal, and it has not been effective.
- You have a compromised immune system, which would make root canal therapy much riskier.
- Your tooth has a large crack that reaches below your gum line or into your dental root.
If you require an extraction, we will complete your treatment by providing a custom-made restoration. We offer crowns, bridges, and advanced dental implants. Dr. Gorrell will work with you to select the right option for your health needs and budget.
Contact Us to Learn More
If you believe you have an infected tooth, it is important to seek treatment before the infection spreads. Contact our office online to find out if a root canal is the right solution for you.
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“I moved out of the area 20 years ago and happily drive 40 miles to still see Dr. Gorrell. Best dentist ever.” Kevin B.