A dentist might recommend root canal therapy or tooth extraction to treat an infected or badly damaged tooth. Factors like the severity of the infection and the tooth's location often determine how the dentist approaches treating a patient.
Tooth extraction is the cheaper alternative, but it can end up costing more than root canal therapy if the extracted tooth is replaced with an oral prosthetic. Root canal therapy enables the dentist to save the tooth, so it is typically the first option explored.
Figuring out if root canal therapy or extraction is needed
Let us take a closer look at the factors that a dentist considers when making a recommendation on how to treat a severely damaged or infected tooth.
1. The severity of the infection
Root canal therapy is an effective way to stop an infection and save the tooth. However, some people do not get dental care immediately when they have an infected tooth, so the infection spreads into its roots.
Suppose that the dentist determines there is a high risk of the infection spreading to other parts of the body, like the brain, where it can have life-threatening consequences. In that case, an extraction is recommended to prevent this from occurring.
2. The location of the tooth
The location of a damaged or infected tooth also determines how a dentist opts to treat it. Some teeth play more important roles than others. The least important teeth in a person’s mouth are the wisdom teeth. These are relics of evolution from a time when humans consumed mostly hard nuts and grains. Modern humans no longer have a use for these teeth, and extracting them does not negatively impact the remaining teeth.
An infected wisdom tooth can be treated with a root canal, but dentists often view that as a pointless endeavor because the tooth is likely to develop other issues in the future. The location of wisdom teeth at the back of the mouth makes them the most challenging set of teeth to clean, making them more vulnerable to issues like tooth decay and infections.
Dentists often recommend extracting a wisdom tooth when it becomes infected. They might also recommend extracting the remaining wisdom teeth before they develop problems.
3. The tooth is too damaged to be saved
In some cases, damage to a tooth makes it impossible to save it with a root canal. For example, a severe fracture that reaches teeth roots negates the dentist’s ability to save it. In this scenario, the dentist is forced to extract the tooth and replace it with an oral prosthetic, like an implant.
We treat damaged and infected teeth
Our dentist will evaluate your infected or damaged tooth to determine the right approach to treating it. If possible, a root canal will be recommended to save the tooth. Give us a call or drop by our Blaine clinic to set up an appointment with our dentist.
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