15% of people avoid going to the dentist each year because they’re nervous about what to expect. Are you among them?
You’ve been dealing with some serious pain in your mouth. You’re pretty sure it’s a sign that you need a dental procedure, but you’re not sure which. What’s more, you’re nervous about getting hit with the news that you need a root canal or worse.
You don’t want to be blindsided when you get to the dentist, and we understand that anxiety. That’s why we’re bringing you this guide to root canal vs. extraction. These two highly common procedures could be the solution to your toothaches.
So, want to know the difference between a root canal and a tooth extraction? Discover which procedure you need with this guide and get rid of that pre-dental visit anxiety for good!
Root Canal vs. Extraction: What’s the Difference?
So, that pain in the jaw or mouth? That’s probably a sign you’re dealing with some severe tooth decay. If it’s been a while since you’ve been to the dentist, you can almost guarantee that’s the case.
When you get a tooth infection or, worse, the pulp or root of your tooth dies, you do have options. A root canal is always the better, more natural solution. But for more severe problems, an extraction may be what the dentist orders.
Before your dentist can diagnose the issue, though, you may need to go on a round of antibiotics. This is especially true for teeth in the back of the mouth, where swelling and inflammation may conceal the root of the problem. Once you finish your antibiotics, you’ll come in for a follow-up, and your dentist will tell you what kind of procedure will fix the problem.
Let’s explore root canals and extractions more in-depth. That way, you’ll know what to expect if your dentist tells you that you need one of these procedures.
A root canal is a procedure in which a hole is drilled into the problematic tooth. Through this hole, your dentist will scoop out infected pulp. While this pulp is vital for younger mouths, adults don’t actually need pulp.
Once the infected tissue is scooped away, your dentist will clean the area of bacteria before using a filling to seal up the hole. In some cases, your dentist will use a crown to cover the surface of your tooth. Yet, as you can see, the tooth itself is not replaced during a root canal.
That’s why people with completely damaged or decayed teeth have to get a tooth extraction instead.
Most dentists view a tooth extraction as a last resort for dealing with a dead or dying tooth. Dentists always prefer to keep your natural teeth in your mouth. Not only is it less expensive, but it’s also much less painful to do a root canal instead of an extraction.
Extractions are as they sound– your dentist will completely remove the problematic tooth. First, he or she will numb the area. Then, the tooth is removed with a special dental tool created for extractions.
While this sounds extremely painful, the anesthesia will lessen the discomfort significantly. Still, keep in mind that your dentist may have to work on the tooth for a while to wriggle it free. Some dental patients report some pressure during the procedure for this reason.
After pulling out your tooth, there will be blood. Your dentist will recommend that you bite down on some gauze until the bleeding ceases, sometimes this can take up to 45 minutes. Post-procedure, you may experience light bleeding for a few days.
You may be wondering: but what happens to the gap after the extraction? You have the choice to either leave the gap or pay for an additional procedure to get a new tooth or bridge. Keep in mind that if you leave the gap, this may lead to shifting teeth down the line.
Who Needs a Root Canal or Tooth Extraction?
How can you know if that pain in your mouth means you need a dental procedure done? According to the American Association of Endodontists, the first and most obvious symptom is pain. Whether it’s a sharp pain in a specific tooth or soreness in your whole jaw, pain is often a sign of underlying damage.
You can even look for more visible signs of decay. These include discoloration, cracked or chipped teeth, and even swelling or inflammation in the gums or face. Extreme sensitivity to cold and hot is also common.
A weird yet common symptom of needing a root canal or extraction is small pimples on your gums. This is usually a sign of bacterial infection and that the underlying issue is advancing to other regions of your mouth and gums.
The Bottom Line on Root Canals vs. Extractions
While both procedures will fix your tooth, dentists always recommend a root canal first. Root canals can be cheaper, faster, and more painless than the alternative. Plus, if you want to avoid paying for an implant or dealing with moving teeth in the future, a root canal is definitely the way to go.
Friendly Family Dentist in Chattanooga, TN
Now that you know the difference between a root canal vs. extraction, are you ready to take the dive and get rid of that pain in the mouth for good? Shallowford Family Dental can help.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment and see for yourself why our patients always feel welcome!