Root canal treatment is an important method used by dentists to save teeth and to avoid unnecessary extractions. Many patients worry that root canal treatment will be painful, but new, modern technologies and anesthesia options have made root canals into a mostly pain-free procedure. Today’s patients are more than 6 times as likely to describe root canal treatment as a painless experience than patients who have a tooth removed!
But despite the fact that most patients will enjoy a pain-free experience when they have a root canal performed at Green Tree Dental, it’s still important to understand the benefits of this procedure before making a decision about whether or not it’s right for you. Typically, this decision begins with pain in the mouth, usually from an inflamed and infected tooth. An evaluation reveals that the pulp of the tooth is diseased at which point the patient must make a decision about how to proceed.
What is a root canal?
A root canal is performed to remove the inflamed and infected pulp from the inside of a tooth. After the pulp is removed, the inside of the tooth is then thoroughly disinfected and cleaned. Then the dentist fills the tooth and seals it with a special rubbery-material called gutta-percha. Finally, a restorative element such as a crown or filling is applied to the tooth so that the patient can continue to chew and bite on the tooth without issues. The entire process is performed under anesthesia so patients are comfortable and relaxed. After it’s completed, they can go about their lives as they always have.
Advantages of Having a Root Canal vs. Tooth Extraction
Most of our patients at Green Tree Dental realize the importance of saving their natural teeth. No one wants to be toothless. But patients must consider the advantages and benefits of root canal treatment up against the relative drawbacks of tooth extraction. Of course, there often comes a time when patients must consider the possibility that extracting a tooth is the best way to go, but through root canal treatment, patients can preserve their natural teeth for as long as possible.
Tooth Extraction Disadvantages
The disadvantages of losing a tooth are obvious. If you lose a tooth, you may have a gap in your smile or you may have trouble eating or even speaking clearly. Tooth loss usually means that patients must undergo some kind of prosthetic intervention with bridgework or crowns or even dental implants in some cases. The best course of action would depend on a number of variables and at Green Tree Dental, we’ll discuss your options with you candidly so that you can make an informed decision. But as a general rule, it’s best to preserve your natural teeth as long as possible before resorting to purely prosthetic options.
Root Canal Benefits
One of the biggest benefits of root canal treatment is that it gets rid of pain and infection in the mouth. The root canal relieves pressure from inflammation in the pulp of the tooth and within a day or two after treatment, patients can get back to living their lives, without tooth pain. Problem solved. Dr. Jonathan Smith a Spokane dentist, adds that the root canal treatment is painless.
But some patients shy away from root canal treatment for fear that it will be painful. The truth is, though, that most patients feel no pain during the procedure, and afterwards, they walk away with their natural tooth still intact and functioning. Through endodontic treatment, patients can retain their natural smile and continue eating the foods they enjoy the most. With good dental hygiene, a root canal treatment can last a lifetime without issues.
But for some of our patients at Green Tree Dental, aesthetics are not the most compelling factor to consider. It may seem, in some cases, like tooth extraction would be the most affordable choice, but in reality, tooth extraction requires more follow-up appointments than root canal treatment and often, patients have to get a denture, bridge, or implant, which drives the cost higher as well as the time commitment for treatment. Further, many dental insurance plans cover root canal treatments. So, affordability and ease of treatment are some of the benefits of getting a root canal as opposed to tooth extraction.
Aesthetics are another important consideration for root canal patients. Teeth that have become infected may turn yellow, brown, or even black as a result of bacterial build-up in the pulp of the tooth. This discoloration won’t respond to teeth whitening. But by crowning the tooth, patients can cover the discoloration and regain their natural smile. The final result of a root canal is a crown that not only looks like a natural tooth but also functions like a natural tooth as well. In fact, some of our patients at Green Tree Dental say that after getting a crown, their tooth actually looks better than it did before it became infected. And patients who get the root canal done preserve their natural tooth, keeping their options open for the future in terms of dental implants or bridges. Because let’s face it, if you get rid of your natural teeth, you don’t ever have the option of getting them back, but dental implants are always an option if decaying or broken teeth simply can’t be repaired.
And finally, by treating the infection in the tooth through root canal treatment, your dentist can ensure that the infection won’t spread to the jawbone or even the brain. A number of major health issues throughout the body originate from dental issues so its important patients do not delay in getting root canal treatment for infected teeth. One of the biggest benefits of this procedure is that it takes care of the problem of infection expeditiously. Patients typically recover completely from the treatment within 24 to 48 hours.
So, before you decide against root canal treatment on the basis that it could be painful or that tooth extraction is a cheaper option, be aware that both of these statements are myths. Chances are if you have an infection in the pulp of your tooth, the quickest, most pain-free and most affordable option for you to fix the problem permanently is to get a root canal done as soon as possible.