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Root Canal vs. Extraction: Which Is Better?

Root Canal vs. Extraction: Which Is Better?

Living with a damaged or infected tooth can interfere with your quality of life. Symptoms such as tooth discoloration, gum swelling, bad breath, and tooth sensitivity can make it difficult to speak or eat normally. Together, these symptoms can make you feel self-conscious and uncomfortable as long as the untreated tooth remains in place. 

The primary goal in treating tooth problems is to save your natural teeth. For many patients, a root canal can relieve symptoms and preserve the affected tooth. This relatively common dental procedure is performed more than 41,000 times daily, for a total of 15 million root canals accomplished annually. 

A comprehensive dental exam can determine whether a root canal is an appropriate form of treatment. The dentists at Rifkin Dental in Yorktown Heights and Carmel, New York, have the experience and expertise necessary to determine the best method of treatment for your damaged or decayed tooth. 

Our specialized team at Rifkin Dental helps patients preserve their natural teeth and avoid extraction. Find out more about the reasons that a root canal is preferred over tooth extraction whenever possible. 

Long-term solution

The term “root canal” is commonly used to describe the procedure that treats infections that occur in the root canal portion of an affected tooth. A root canal is a hollow portion of your tooth that contains blood vessels, nerve tissue, and other cells called pulp. It extends from the top of your tooth to the tip of its root. 

After the damaged and diseased pulp is removed, the empty canal is sealed with a rubber-like compound called gutta percha to prevent infection. The final step of a root canal procedure involves adding a crown or filling to protect the repaired tooth so it can function normally. The entire process typically requires between one and three office visits. 

In contrast, tooth extraction can require more follow-up appointments and costly work over the long term. While removing a tooth can relieve symptoms, having a gap in your mouth can create other oral problems. After an extraction, it’s often necessary to get an artificial tooth replacement, such as an implant or bridge, to maintain normal oral function. 

Functional advantage

Extracting a tooth can create more than a cosmetic problem because the procedure creates an imbalance in your mouth. With tooth removal, your teeth, facial muscles, and nerves naturally compensate for the missing tooth. Remaining natural teeth may gradually move to occupy the gap, weakening healthy teeth and creating gaps in your gums as the teeth move. 

Losing a tooth and its roots affects the health of your gums and mouth. During normal chewing, your teeth stimulate your jawbone to release nutrients that regenerate the bone. Tooth extraction leaves a hole in your gumline that doesn’t receive the stimulation necessary to renew the bone under the gap. 

Without enough gum stimulation, you can lose the natural line and strength of your jaw. Bone deterioration can result, leading to changes in your biting force, facial structure, and overall appearance. 

Less discomfort

Long-held myths about root canal therapy have misled dental patients about the discomfort involved with this procedure. Innovative treatment techniques and state-of-the-art anesthesia can make the treatment virtually painless. 

A root canal is less invasive than a tooth extraction because removing a tooth requires surgery below the gumline. Patients who experience a root canal are six times more likely to define the procedure as painless than those who undergo extraction.

Post-procedure pain with a root canal is also less than that which typically occurs after an extraction. In addition, recovering from a root canal is often accomplished in less time than the recovery required for extraction.  

Leaving a diseased or damaged tooth untreated can compromise the health of your entire mouth. To find out how a root canal can resolve the problem, schedule an appointment by calling our Yorktown Heights or Carmel office for rapid, expert dental care.

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