Your teeth are meant to last a lifetime, but it takes care and maintenance to accomplish that. Unfortunately, about 178 million Americans have lost at least one tooth, and a shocking 40 million are missing all of them.
In many cases, those teeth could have been saved. Our team at Dr. Aaronson & Associates in Midtown East, Manhattan, New York, strongly recommends doing whatever you can to preserve your natural teeth.
When infection, disease, and decay invade your tooth, you may be tempted to request an extraction to eliminate the source of pain, but there’s a better option. Here’s how a root canal can resolve your problem and save your tooth.
When to consider a root canal
Not all tooth problems require a root canal. In many cases, we can remove tooth decay using minimally invasive, pain-free laser dentistry techniques and repair the cavity with a filling. But if the decay has progressed to the pulp of your tooth and is causing pain, hot and cold sensitivity, inflammation, oozing, and tooth discoloration, it’s time to talk about a root canal.
Root canal vs. extraction
If your inner tooth is infected and the nerves are irritated or damaged, you have two choices: extract the tooth or get a root canal. Here’s what you need to know to make the right decision for you.
Your jawbone relies on the pressure exerted every time you bite and chew to stimulate new bone growth. When you’re missing a tooth, the bone it was attached to begins to atrophy, so if you can save your tooth, it’s the best option for your overall oral health. If the tooth must be extracted, it’s crucial to replace it once the area has healed to preserve your jawbone.
Root canals have a reputation for being painful, but modern technology has made the procedure nearly pain-free. In fact, according to the American Association of Endodontists, people who undergo a root canal are six times more likely to report a painless experience compared to folks who get a tooth extraction.
While the upfront cost of extraction is lower than a root canal, you’ll spend more over the long term if you go with an extraction because you’ll need to replace the missing tooth with a bridge or dental implant, which adds to the bottom line considerably.
How a root canal saves your tooth
The goal of a root canal is to clean out the infected pulp inside your tooth while leaving the outer part intact. To do this, we create a small hole in the top of the tooth so we can access the inner chamber.
Once the infection, bacteria, and decay have been removed, we thoroughly disinfect the inside of your tooth and fill it with a rubbery substance called gutta-percha. Finally, we seal the top and prep it for a restorative crown.
That’s it. You may feel sore for a day or two after your root canal, but most patients find that over-the-counter painkillers ease their symptoms.
Because a root canal allows you to keep your natural tooth, your smile keeps its original look, you care for it the same as all your other teeth, and you can feel free to eat your favorite foods.
If you have tooth pain and are wondering whether a root canal can save your tooth, schedule a consultation with our team at Dr. Aaronson & Associates today. Simply request an appointment online or call our friendly staff at 212-688-7722.