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Dentistry Memphis

Root Canal Therapy vs. Tooth Extraction: Which Option Is Best for You?

Photo of clear dental model highlighting the internal structures of a toothWhen a tooth becomes badly decayed or damaged, there are a number of restorative dentistry treatments to improve your oral health. However, when bacteria invade the innermost structures of a tooth, there are really only two options: root canal therapy or an extraction. 

How can you know which one is right for you? Here, our team at Southwind Dental Care in Memphis, TN discusses root canal therapy vs. extraction.

How Root Canal Therapy Can Save a Tooth

A bacterial infection causes the internal tissues of a tooth to become inflamed and irritated. In many cases, this is accompanied by substantial discomfort and a swollen jaw. 

These infected tissues cannot be repaired; they must be removed. To do so, Dr. Timothy Messer will numb the tooth and create a tiny access hole in the chewing surface. Using specialized endodontic instruments, he will remove the entire pulp, including the nerves and blood vessels. 

Next, the root canals will be scrubbed clean with tiny files. Once all of the tissues are removed, the surfaces will be disinfected, and the canals and pulp chamber will be filled. In many instances, a dental crown will be placed to reinforce the damaged tooth.

When Is Root Canal Therapy Recommended?

Root canal therapy is beneficial if the tooth has a good long-term prognosis with treatment. In other words, if there is a significant chance that the tooth will last for several years after root canal therapy is performed, then that is the treatment Dr. Messer will suggest. 

About Dental Extractions

A tooth extraction is one of the most common treatments in dentistry. Fortunately, with today’s advanced methods and techniques, the procedure is much less invasive than it was in years past. 

To perform this procedure, Dr. Messer will administer local anesthesia for your comfort. Next, the tissues around the tooth will be loosened, and the tooth will be carefully lifted from its socket using dental forceps. 

In some cases, the tooth may be divided into several segments for easier removal. Finally, the site may be closed with sutures if necessary.

When Is an Extraction Recommended?

As a dental professional, Dr. Messer prefers to save teeth whenever feasible. However, there are simply some instances in which root canal therapy is not predictable. 

If the tooth has a large crack, or if it has fractured at the gum line, then an extraction will most likely be necessary. Essentially, choosing between root canal therapy and an extraction comes down to risk versus benefit. If the long-term prognosis is too questionable, an extraction will be the most predictable option. 

If your tooth must be extracted, there are several replacement options available today. In addition to traditional restorations such as partials and bridges, patients can also choose to replace a missing tooth with a dental implant. 

Dental implants are considered the most successful replacement option on the market. During a consultation with Dr. Messer, he can help you determine which treatment option will most effectively serve your needs. 

Learn More about Your Restorative Treatment Options

If you have a problematic tooth, explore your treatment options at our practice. You can contact us online anytime or call our office at (901) 751-1260.

Tagged In: Root Canal Therapy, Tooth Extraction

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I have been to several dentists in the Memphis Area and I have finally found THE ONE!! Dr. Messer is the best dentist I have ever been to. I have complete confidence in any procedure that he performs and I can't imagine ever going to any other dentist.

-Meredith Page B.