Root Canal vs Tooth Extraction: What’s the Right Choice?

When it comes to dental procedures, there can be a lot of confusion about what’s the right choice for you. Do you need a root canal or tooth extraction

If you find yourself in this situation, the best thing to do is familiarise yourself with the two procedures. Then, weigh up the short and long term benefits and limitations.  Make sure you factor in the time and costs associated with each treatment option and if you’re still unsure, ask your dentist and ask your questions!


When Can Teeth Be Saved?

Teeth can often be saved if they undergo a root canal procedure early on before the infection has spread too deep into the tooth. However, there are instances where the tooth is too damaged, or the infection has spread too far for a root canal to be effective, and the tooth must be extracted.

When Teeth Should Be Extracted?

It is generally recommended that teeth with advanced pulp damage be extracted. This means that the infection has progressed beyond the point where a root canal procedure would be effective. Additionally, there are some instances where teeth should be extracted even if they have not yet developed advanced pulp damage. These include:

  • Teeth that have been severely damaged by trauma
  • Teeth that are impacted (stuck in the jawbone)
  • Teeth that are severely decayed and cannot be saved with a root canal
  • Teeth that are infected and causing pain even after a root canal procedure

Root Canal Aftercare

It’s always best to follow up any dental procedure with proper aftercare. This is especially important for root canals, as there is a greater risk for infection after the procedure.

Be sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day (after every meal if possible) and floss once a day. If you are experiencing any discomfort or pain, be sure to take the appropriate medication and antibiotics as directed by your dentist.


NOTE: If you grind or clench your teeth, that can be a major factor in the lifespan of your crown and your teeth. A night guard is an excellent way to protect your crown and the integrity of your other teeth. You should also avoid crunching down on ice and hard food items, such as hard candies.


Tooth Extraction Aftercare

After an extraction you will have an open wound in your mouth, so your priorities will be managing the bleeding and keeping the area clean free of infection.

Your dentist will give you a piece of gauze to bite down on. The pressure from your bite can help to slow down the bleeding, change the gauze if the bleeding is heavy.

Once the anaesthetic wears off, you may experience some discomfort and tenderness at the site. The area might bleed intermittently in the two or three days following your surgery but remember not to spit or touch the area with your tongue, as this could dislodge the blood clot that forms.

If the blood clot comes out it can cause a very painful condition called dry socket whereby the tooth nerves are exposed. It causes a very severe, dull pain that can take a number of days to heal.

It can take up to ten days for the extraction site to heal completely. However, healing times will vary from person to person. It also depends on which teeth were extracted, as wisdom teeth extraction healing can take longer.


Regular Checkups

If you’re still unsure which option is best for you, talk to the team here at Glenhuntly Dental Clinic or book an appointment online. The best course of action is to let our dentist take a look at your circumstances – after all, every set of teeth is different!

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