So, during your last visit to the dentist’s office, you were told you needed a root canal. That might not have been what you were hoping to hear, but when it comes to deciding what is right for you, it is important to understand that you have choices. Alternatives to root canalsdo exist, and part of achieving optimal health is being proactive. That means learning about all of your options.
Root canals have developed a reputation for being unpleasant, however they are typically no more painful than other types of dental procedures. A root canal is warranted when a tooth becomes severely damaged or decayed and the soft tissue inside the tooth (pulp) becomes inflamed or infected. This can happen if you have a deep cavity, a tooth that is cracked or broken, or a history of multiple dental procedures on one tooth.
During the actual procedure, the pulp is removed from the tooth and the inside of the tooth, including the root canals, are cleaned and disinfected to remove bacteria. After this has been done, the tooth is sealed. A crown or filling will restore the tooth after the treatment has occurred.
Root Canal Alternatives
Extraction: One of the most popular alternatives to a root canal is extraction. This entails removing the damaged tooth and replacing it with a bridge, implant, or partial denture. While this may seem like a good option, it is always best to try and save the natural tooth if possible.
Pulp Capping: Direct pulp capping is a procedure that can be used to treat severe damage or decay that exposes the pulp. During the procedure, a material is placed directly over the exposed pulp. This material creates a barrier that can help protect the pulp and promote tissue repair. This is not always successful, however, and could only serve to delay the inevitable: you may still need a root canal.
Liquid Root Canal Therapy: This new dental procedure is more of an innovation in technology than it is an alternative to root canals. This procedure uses liquid in combination with dental instruments to clean the tubules in the root of the tooth. This option removes the infection while preserving more of the tooth’s structure, providing an effective cleaning.
It is normal to feel nervous or uneasy if a root canal is suggested by your dentist, and seeking second opinions and alternative treatment options may feel like the best next step. However, your dentist is an expert in oral health, and the chances are that if your dentist recommended a root canal…you probably need a root canal. While root canal alternatives might sound promising, none of them offer the long-term solution that a professional root canal procedure can. If a root canal is recommended, your dentist believes that it is the most appropriate and effective treatment option.
The best way to prevent a root canal is to practice good oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing every day are important, as they help remove plaque and prevent buildup which leads to tooth decay. Scheduling regular check-ups and cleanings with your dentist are also a must.
There is no better time than now to plan your dental visit. Contact Temple Family Dentistry to speak with us today, or request an appointment using the brief form below: