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Root Canal Alternatives: What Are My Options?

It might be tempting to look for alternatives if your dentist recommends a root canal procedure. However, more often than not alternatives will not be as effective and may lead to more pain and costs later in life. Our Toronto endodontists explain why in this post.

What is a Root Canal?

During a root canal procedure, your endodontist removes any. bacteria, nerves and decay from the interior of a damaged tooth. 

To alleviate pain caused by damaged nerves and save an infected tooth, a root canal is performed. It will also help save the natural tooth and avoid the need for a tooth extraction. 

What are root canal alternatives?

A tooth extraction - where your dentist removes a tooth from its socket in the bone - is most likely the only real alternative to a root canal. 

After a tooth extraction, you'll most likely need a tooth replacement (such as a crown, bridge, implant or removable partial denture) to restore chewing function and prevent surrounding teeth from shifting and causing additional issues for your oral health. 

In addition, a tooth extraction is usually more expensive than a root canal and requires more treatment time along with more procedures on the teeth, and tissues in the surrounding area. 

Won't a root canal be painful?

It is critical to understand that if you need a root canal, the pain you experience is likely not caused by the root canal procedure, but rather by the infection in the tooth nerves. In fact, the root canal procedure will, in the vast majority of cases, eliminate the discomfort because your endodontist will remove all of the nerves during the procedure. If a root canal is not performed, the infected tooth will most likely continue to cause pain and may eventually lead to more serious complications in the future.

just like when you get a filling, your endodontist will use a local anesthetic to perform your root canal, which means you will likely experience very little discomfort during the procedure.

What can I expect with a root canal procedure?

A root canal is a common, routine procedure that our endodontists routinely perform at our office in Toronto. With the help of numbing medicine, you probably won't experience any severe pain, and some patients compare the procedure to getting a dental filling.

First, your endodontist will remove the diseased tissue from the tooth, clean and disinfect the inner chamber, and then fill them with medication to prevent infection. To finish the procedure, the tooth is generally sealed or capped with a dental crown. 

You might experience some mild post-procedure discomfort, but this can usually be managed with over-the-counter pain medicine. In most cases, this pain should subside within a few days.

How do I prevent the need for a root canal in the first place?

One of the best ways to help avoid the need for a root canal is to practice good oral hygiene routines. This includes brushing twice daily and flossing once daily, in addition to attending regular hygiene cleanings and exams at your dentist's office. 

To find out more about root canals, and to see if the procedure is right for your oral health, contact our Toronto endodontists today.

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