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Montreal Smiles®

Root Canal or Tooth Extraction: Treating Infected Teeth

By Roni S. Berbari, DMD on November 12, 2017

An infected toothRoot canal infections are a painful form of inflammation that affects the pulp located with the tooth. This occurs when the bacteria that naturally resides in the mouth reaches in the interior structures of a tooth, often as a result of tooth decay or injury. The infection can be quite painful, and if left untreated, it can have a negative impact on your lasting dental health and wellness.

Root canal therapy (endodontic treatment) or tooth extraction are ideal solutions for treating root canal infections. The team here at Montreal Smiles would like to compare these two restorative procedures so you know which one may be more ideal for your needs.

What Is Root Canal Therapy (Endodontics)?

Root canal therapy refers to the removal of the diseased dental pulp. During treatment, the pulp is taken out of the tooth, the pulp chamber is sterilized and filled, and the tooth is capped with a restoration to restore a patient's ability to bite and chew. While the tooth is technically "dead" at this point, it is saved, and the infection is stopped.

Recovery After Root Canal Therapy

After a root canal, patients will experience pain and discomfort. This is a normal part of the recovery process. While the pain can be serious for the first few days, it can be managed by prescription pain killers and eventually over-the-counter pain relievers. Patients should avoid eating on the side of the mouth of the treated tooth, and should stick to room temperature beverages and soft foods to prevent tooth sensitivity.

When Is Tooth Extraction Necessary?

Extracting an infected tooth is only recommended when root canal therapy is no longer an option. In these cases, there is not enough healthy tooth structure left to save, and the infection is likely to spread soon to other parts of the mouth. Extraction avoids further health issues and relieves the pain associated with an infected tooth.

Options for Replacing Missing Teeth

When you are missing a tooth after an extraction, there are a few different options to consider for replacement. A dental bridge is a common solution, which involves a removable appliance placed in the tooth gap, held in place by bracing around the adjacent teeth. It's also possible to get a single dental crown placed that is supported by a dental implant, which is a surgically placed artificial tooth root. These options can be discussed in more detail during a consultation.

Is One Option Better Than the Other?

Generally, it's always best to preserve as much of someone's natural tooth structure as possible, which means that a root canal is preferable when viable. Since root canals aren't always an option, however, extraction will suffice when the tooth cannot be saved. With all this in mind, preventative care is always best, so make sure to brush and floss regularly, and to visit your dentist for regular appointments.

Contact Montreal Smiles

For more information about treating root canal infections and improving your overall dental health and wellness, be sure to contact an experienced cosmetic and restorative dentist. We look forward to your visit and discussing these matters in greater detail.

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