Dental Care

Root Canal Alternatives

Are there any root canal alternatives? If your dentist believes one of your teeth requires root canal therapy, you don't really have any alternatives other than having the tooth extracted. A root canal procedure is unlike all other dental procedures in that it addresses the interior elements of the affected tooth. 

Used to repair and save a tooth that is infected or badly decayed, a root canal procedure involves removing the tooth's nerve and pulp, cleaning out the interior of the now-empty root canal, and then sealing it to prevent potential infection in the future. 

No other type of dental procedure can do that, and if a root canal procedure is for some reason impossible or you choose not to have it, the tooth will need to be extracted.

Tooth Extraction Alternatives

Typically, tooth extractions are, at least initially, less expensive, slightly less painful and easier to go through than the almost universally dreaded root canal procedures. 

These advantages might make having the tooth pulled instead of enduring the root canal treatment an appealing option, at least at first.  Unfortunately, however, choosing to have the tooth extracted instead of having a root canal might not be the wise decision in the long run

Over the course of time, having your tooth pulled might actually lead to additional problems and even more expense than you would incur with a root canal procedure.

Essential Teeth Support

You might not realize it, but your teeth support each other and help keep each other in the proper positions.  Any type of structure requires some type of support to maintain its proper position, and when a portion of that support is removed, the structure naturally becomes more unstable. 

A dental arch is a structure and the teeth embedded within it require the support provided by other teeth in order to maintain their proper positions.  When a tooth is pulled or falls out, some of that support is lost and the adjacent teeth tend to shift in position.

A shift in the position of the teeth can have a drastic effect on your oral health.  Even the loss of a single tooth can lead to problems with the joint of your jaw or your ability to chew. 

And, teeth that have shifted in position because an adjacent tooth has been lost are more likely to experience issues such as tooth decay.

So, what's the upshot of having a tooth pulled instead of going through a seemingly more expensive root canal procedure?  Your dentist will almost certainly recommend that the extracted tooth be replaced with some type of dental appliance in order to provide the structural support the adjacent teeth will need to remain healthy and in their proper positions. 

The specific type of appliance your dentist will recommend will depend on your individual situation, but the choices include a removable partial denture, a dental bridge or an implant. 

Any one of these options can easily cost at least as much (and often more) than that root canal and follow-up treatment you decided was too expensive, so how much did you really save by having your tooth extracted?

Conclusions on Root Canal Alternatives

We know the high cost and - let's face it - soreness associated with root canal treatments make many people reluctant to undergo this important dental procedure and seek root canal alternatives. 

Hopefully, you'll take away at least one lesson after reading the information in this article:  Don't rush the process of deciding whether to have a root canal procedure or have the tooth extracted. 

Have a thorough discussion with your dentist regarding the advantages and disadvantages of both procedures, and make sure you understand what he or she tells you. 

Once you are armed with this knowledge, you'll be able to make a better-informed (and hopefully better) decision.


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