Root Canal vs. Tooth Extraction
To a large extent, the foundation of modern dentistry is comprised of preserving the teeth and conserving the natural structures of the mouth. Our teeth, gums, and bones are like non-renewable natural resources. Once they have been lost or destroyed, they are often gone forever. So, we tend to go to great lengths to save each tooth, though sometimes we find that removing a bad tooth is the best choice.
When you and your dentist have decided that a tooth cannot be saved, you should be referred to an oral surgeon for a tooth extraction. This is not a decision that is to be made lightly, and it generally comes only after the option of a root canal treatment has been considered. If possible, the root canal treatment will be used to resolve an abscess by cleaning and sterilizing the pathway that houses the nerve tissue within a natural tooth. The procedure is generally successful, but can sometimes fail, in which case the procedure can be repeated or the tooth can be extracted. In fact, the more extensively the tooth is damaged, the lower the success rate for the root canal procedure. This includes teeth with extremely deep cavities, fractured roots, and poor structural integrity.
In cases where the outlook is so bleak, your dentist will discuss the advantages of a tooth extraction followed by the placement of a dental implant. An oral surgeon can extract the bad tooth and also perform the placement of the dental implant, including related surgical procedures such as bone grafting and sinus lifts. If you are not prepared for a dental implant at the time of the tooth extraction, or if your oral surgeon recommends a brief healing period before placing the implant, the bone and gum tissue at the extraction site will be carefully managed so that a tooth replacement will still be a viable option in the future.
Aiming to save your teeth is always best, but the ultimate treatment solution is the one that leaves your smile stronger and healthier than before. If that happens to involve a tooth extraction, reach out to our team of dual degree oral and maxillofacial surgeons at ORA® Oral Surgery & Implant Studio. Call 312-328-9000 for more information.