3 Facts Regarding Root Canal Therapy

If your doctor has told you one of your teeth requires root canal therapy, you may be looking for alternatives. However, root canal treatment is a common procedure that many patients undergo. Many general dentists, as well as specialists, offer root canal therapy. If you aren't sure if root canal therapy is the right choice for you, check out these three facts.

1. Root Canal Therapy Treats Tooth Infection

If the pain in your mouth doesn't feel worse (or actually feels better) when exposed to cold water, the area is noticeably swollen, or you see pus, you likely have a tooth infection, which is what root canal treatment corrects. When a cavity or damage allows bacteria to enter the pulp of the tooth, it can become infected. This often leads to pressure on the pulp, which causes mild to severe pain. Your dentist may prescribe some antibiotics to help reduce the infection before treatment because part of treatment involves removing the entire infection. That also means removing the entire pulp and tooth roots and replacing them with an artificial substance that will help prevent future infection.

2. Treatment May Prevent Extraction

There is an alternative for treating a tooth infection: Extraction. You can't typically treat a tooth infection with antibiotics alone because the infection will likely continue to return. The best treatment is to remove the infection by removing the pulp or the entire tooth. Therefore, choosing a tooth extraction will likely save the tooth and prevent extraction. In some cases, the tooth may need to be retreated, but if retreatment doesn't work, it may indicate a more serious problem, and extraction may ultimately be necessary. In other cases, the root canal treatment may fail, and the tooth may break. If the dentist cannot rebuild the tooth, it may need to be extracted.

3. You'll Likely Need a Dental Crown

One of the best ways to prevent a tooth from breaking after root canal therapy is to cover it with a dental crown. Replacing the entire pulp is like placing a huge filling in the tooth. This weakens the tooth, but placing a crown over it strengthens it. This increases the cost, and root canal treatment is already more expensive than extraction. However, if you do choose extraction, you'll also have to pay for a tooth replacement unless you are willing to suffer the consequences of a missing tooth, such as bone deterioration and self-esteem issues. The most realistic way to replace a missing tooth is with a dental implant, which alone may be more expensive than root canal treatment and a crown together.

Root canal therapy may seem overwhelming, but it is designed to remove the infection, which relieves pain and saves the tooth. If you believe you may have a tooth infection or you have questions about root canals, contact a dentist in your area today.