Root Canal Therapy or Tooth Extraction – What to Consider

root canal Jacksonville

Is root canal therapy the right choice? Or should you schedule a tooth extraction procedure?

Whenever possible, Jacksonville dentists recommend saving teeth – not removing them. If a root canal can preserve your dental health and restore your smile, going that route may be your best option. Having said that, some teeth are beyond saving, and if yours is too far gone for restoration, the right solution may be a tooth extraction.

If you’re in pain due to a decayed, damaged or infected tooth, either of these procedures could provide you with relief. Your Jacksonville dentist will recommend a treatment plan, but the final decision is yours to make. Learning more about root canal therapy and tooth extraction can help ensure you do what’s right for your smile – below, the River Oaks Dental team provides the information you need.

Saving a Tooth with a Root Canal

When a tooth is cracked or has a deep cavity, bacteria can easily enter the pulp, causing the inner tissues to become swollen, inflamed and irritated. Known as pulpitis, the painful dental condition is reversible when treated early on – but when the inflammation is advanced, removing the decay and sealing the tooth with a filling isn’t an option.

In that case, the damaged pulp must be removed in order to save the tooth. That’s what root canal therapy achieves, and the procedure can be completed in a single office visit. With a simple root canal, treatment takes only 30 to 60 minutes, and even complex cases can usually be handled within 90 minutes.

Before beginning a root canal procedure, however, a Jacksonville dentist will use local anesthesia to numb the area – and for anyone with dental anxiety, oral sedation and nitrous oxide (laughing gas) are available. Once the patient is comfortable, the dentist carefully removes the inflamed tooth pulp, then cleans, disinfects and shapes the pulp chamber and the root canals. After filling the empty spaces with a flexible dental material, a filling is added to seal the tooth. For additional protection and functionality, the dentist may replace that with a dental crown at a later date.

Does root canal therapy hurt? This is a concern for many patients, but the vast majority enjoy immediate relief – with the source of the infection gone, the pain is gone, too. During recovery, tooth sensitivity is common, but it’s typically easy to manage with a cold compress or over-the-counter medication.

Extracting a Tooth for a Fresh Start

Though Jacksonville dentists prefer to save teeth, root canal therapy isn’t always an option with advanced pulpitis. When a tooth is badly damaged or decayed past the point of repair, pulling it may be the only possible course of action. The same may be true with a tooth that has a crack reaching below the gumline. In any case, tooth extraction works to ease dental pain and improve oral health.

Like root canal therapy, a tooth extraction procedure starts with the application of a local anesthetic to completely numb the area. Many Jacksonville dentists offer oral sedation and nitrous oxide as well. When the patient is relaxed and ready, the dentist uses special tools to loosen and pull out the tooth. After cleaning the socket area, a few stitches may be placed to encourage proper healing.

A skilled Jacksonville dentist can typically complete a routine tooth extraction in 45 minutes or less. More complex cases and those involving the removal of multiple teeth take more time, of course. For most, recovery isn’t all that different from that for a root canal, as discomfort can be managed with ice packs and over-the-counter pain relievers. Most patients feel back to normal within a few days – but with tooth extraction come other considerations.

Removing a tooth leaves an open wound that could get infected, and a gap in the smile affects the appearance. In addition, if the patient doesn’t replace the tooth, the teeth surrounding the socket will begin to shift, affecting the bite. As for the best tooth replacement option, that’s almost always a dental implant. Implants fit, feel and function just like natural teeth, and because a dental implant replaces the roots of the extracted tooth, bone loss in the jaw – a common effect of missing teeth – can be avoided with a dental implant.

Contact the Team at River Oaks Dental Today

Should you get a root canal, or do you need to consider a tooth extraction?

If you want to preserve your oral health and have a smile you want to share with the world, the River Oaks Dental team can help. Our highly skilled dentists have expertise with both procedures – and with dental implant placement — and we offer comforting amenities, including warm blankets, massaging dental chairs, noise-canceling headphones and TVs with Netflix, so you can relax and watch your favorite show while you’re here. And if you’re nervous or anxious, we offer oral sedation and nitrous oxide in our dentist office.

With River Oaks Dental, the tooth pain you’re suffering can soon be a thing of the past. Contact our office in Jacksonville, Florida, and schedule a consultation to determine if root canal therapy or tooth extraction is the right choice for you.

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