• Coptfold Dental Practice

Is it better to have a root canal or an extraction?

The root canal has a very bad reputation, especially in the minds of nervous patients, as an unpleasant procedure. This has led to some patients choosing to have extractions over the root canal! We find this disconcerting at Coptfold Dental; every tooth is important and is worth trying to save. Our dentists in Brentwood have performed many endodontic procedures, so let's compare and contrast the root canal to an extraction.

The abscess

There are several ways an infection could have developed beneath your tooth; trauma or receding gums may have allowed food particles to slip between the root and the jaw bone, where they have festered and in an attempt to control the infection, an abscess has formed.

An abscess is a sack of infected pus, which could be under intense presser depending on the severity. Due to its location in the jaw bone, not only can an abscess be challenging to treat, but bone also has relatively low blood flow so antibiotics are less effective. Therefore an infection is likely to reoccur.

Root canal treatment option

The top of the affected tooth is opened, providing access to the pulp and inner dentine. This is scraped out until our dentist in Brentwood can see the root canal- a narrow passage down to the middle of the root which contains the nerve. To clean and fill the canal, it must be made wider. This is done with the use of some gentle filing, to make the canal more easily accessible. It can easily take an hour per root if they are straight but could take longer if the roots are crooked or impacted.

The length of the work can be very taxing on our team and it is normal to apply a temporary filling part way through a root canal to pause the treatment. During this suspension of treatment, a sterilising solution is placed into the partly cleared tooth, that slowly permeates the dentine and under the tooth, cleaning it.

Once the canal is widened right the way down to the root tip and fully cleaned, a deep filling can be carried out. The filling starts beneath the tooth a extends right up the canal and to the top of the tooth where the access hole was drilled. `

The extration treatment option

The extraction option is simple and to the point. After a local anaesthetic is injected around the affected tooth, it is ''pulled'' from the jaw exposing the abscess beneath. It can then be drained and cleaned out. The extraction hole is packed with an antibiotic gel and the procedure is over, taking mere moments to perform.

So what's best?

Well, despite how it may sound, the root canal is a painless procedure. Even with the application of local anaesthetic, the pressure that is placed on the affected tooth and across the mouth during an extraction leads to significant discomfort. As dentists in Brentwood, we would strongly advise that you allow us to put in the extra time to save a tooth. With the aid of a filled root, your tooth could continue to serve you for many more years.

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