For many people, the idea of getting a root canal can fill them with dread. But root canals are highly valuable dental procedures that can help to end dental infections and prevent losing even more teeth. If you've never had a root canal and don't know why your dentist is recommending one over just having a tooth extracted, then here are some of the major perks over tooth extractions.
Preserves the Tooth
One of the most obvious benefits of a root canal is that you get to keep your natural tooth. With a dental extraction, the entire tooth is removed, from the root up to the top of the crown. With a root canal, however, the tooth is drilled until the abscess and damaged interior are accessible. Then, the interior of the tooth is gutted, removing the pulp, dentin, and nerves. After that, it's filled much like a cavity and typically capped with a dental crown to provide an extra layer of protection to the tooth.
Getting a root canal means that you won't have an unsightly gap in your smile, and no one will be the wiser that you've had dental work done.
Prevents Bone Loss
One of the problems with tooth extractions is that the process doesn't end as soon as the tooth is taken out. Instead, over time, it's quite common for people to lose bone mass in their jaw following a tooth extraction.
The reason for this is that the jaw relies on pressure being sent through the teeth when you chew to grow new bone cells. While it won't stop producing them entirely if you lose one tooth, the rate will diminish, which can lead to your jaw bone becoming thinner, weaker, and more brittle over time. Keeping the tooth in place via a root canal will keep this problem from happening, however.
There are solutions to this bone problem, like getting a dental implant put in place of the tooth that was extracted. However, that costs money and requires spending more time at the dentist's office.
A dental implant can help to restore the lost bone mass or prevent future loss if it's put in place quickly. However, dental implants are a multi-stage process and often cost a lot of money. They aren't necessarily covered by dental insurance either, though every plan varies. In comparison, you can get your root canal performed and leave the office not needing anything more than the procedure you just underwent.