You've put off going to the dentist far too long. Whether it was the financial element, a fear of dentists, or just lack of time, that cavity that you've ignored for the past year, it's beyond repair with a simple filling. The dentist has recommended a root canal or extraction. So, what do you do? Here, you'll find a little bit of information that can help you make the decision that's best for today and your future dental health.
Does a root canal hurt?
In all honesty, the entire process will be more comfortable than the dental pain that you've been coping with. Today, root canals are relatively painless. The area will be numbed, the tooth treated, a temporary crown put in place and you'll be on your way. Weeks later, you'll return to have a permanent crown put in place.
The most discomfort you should feel is possibly a little pressure where the crown is placed, but a few days after placement, it will feel as natural as your tooth, but pain-free.
Does an extraction hurt?
Again, compared to the pain associated with a decaying, infected tooth, the extraction will be mild. As long as you follow the dentist's post-extraction instructions, the recovery time should be minimal. If you don't follow instructions, dry socket can occur.
Dry socket is miserable. So, do not smoke, use drinking straws, and avoid chewing tobacco. If you notice pain beginning to worsen at the extraction point, your dentist should be contacted immediately to begin treatment of the dry socket before it worsens.
What's the better option?
The better option varies from person to person, but in most cases, it's best to preserve the natural teeth by completing the root canal and placing the crown. The crown will help with not only your appearance but also your dental health.
With an extraction, a bridge or partial denture will be needed to fill in the gap to prevent your teeth from shifting.
Financially speaking, root canals are far more costly than simple or surgical extractions, but when you take into consideration that you will not have to purchase a bridge or partial denture every few years, the costs balance out a bit.
Talk with your dentist about what can be done to undo the damage while preserving your dental health and your budget. He or she will walk you through all of your options and provide you with each detail needed for an educated decision.