root canalEven if you are careful with your teeth, some day you may be faced with a dental issue that may require a root canal treatment or even an emergency root canal. Even when a dentist Grand Rapids patients trust recommends a root canal procedure, patients often wonder whether it would be better to have the offending tooth extracted instead.

When is a root canal treatment needed? A root canal procedure is performed when the pulp inside a tooth, which contains nerves and blood vessels, becomes inflamed or diseased. Pulp damage can happen as a result of an especially deep cavity, broken teeth, repeated dental procedures, or an injury to a tooth.

What are the options for damaged pulp? A root canal treatment is most commonly recommended. During the root canal treatment itself, a dentist will remove the diseased pulp, clean the tooth, and seal it. If a root canal procedure is delayed, an emergency root canal may become necessary due to swelling and pain that can occur. In the worst case scenario, depending on the patient’s dental health, a dentist may recommend removing a tooth rather than performing a root canal.

Why is a root canal generally the preferred treatment? The reason dentists normally recommend a root canal rather than extraction is that in the long run, it’s easier to maintain your dental health and overall health if you preserve your natural teeth. Your natural teeth allow you to continue eating a wide variety of foods, and that selection may become more limited if teeth are removed, even if they are replaced with an artificial tooth. Removing a tooth can also result in bite problems, headaches, and jaw pain from an altered bite. Although replacing a tooth with a bridge, implant, or removable partial denture can, in some cases, help restore chewing function and prevent adjacent teeth from shifting, it’s generally much more costly and time consuming than root canal treatment. For these reasons and more, most patients prefer to keep their original teeth if they can.

Why are people concerned about root canals? Even if you know you would rather preserve your original teeth, you may sometimes wonder if removal may just be a better alternative. That may be based on anxiety about the root canal procedure, or concerns about expense, or concerns about recovering from a root canal. What most people don’t realize before having a root canal is that the surgery and recovery are normally much less painful than the dental issue that precipitates a root canal. And root canal treatment is generally a more economical alternative than extraction and replacement.

To preserve your teeth and avoid an emergency dental visit, it’s important to have your teeth checked regularly. Contact Dental Associates of West MI today to schedule an appointment or evaluation.

Photo: Sage Ross

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