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Careington 500 Dental Plan

Root Canal Therapy

 A common dental dilemma we face is what to do with a tooth that has sustained extensive damage or infection. Should we attempt to clean, repair, and restore the tooth to its full health? That seems like the optimal choice, but there are considerations there. Can you afford the multiple procedures required to repair the tooth? Can you commit to being at the dental office multiple times to complete treatment? If not, extracting the tooth may be your best option. Of course, you and your dentist will discuss this together, but here are some things to consider.

Too Much Damage?  If the problem you're facing is an infection of the tooth's pulp, and the infection is so strong that antibiotics don't fix it, then your dentist may opt for an extraction. Also, if the dentist feels your mouth is overcrowded, he or she may feel extraction is the way to go in order to relieve the crowding.


Cost. The cost of a root canal varies, of course, depending on the type of root canal required and the type of professional who performs it. At a general dentist, you can expect to be charged between $400 and $500 for a root canal on an anterior tooth, or roughly $700-$800 for molars. (You will typically pay more to a root canal specialists, called an endodontist, than a general dentist.) And bear in mind that this is merely the tip of the iceberg; root canal therapy also requires a core rebuild and a crown later. On the other hand, an extraction can sometimes be performed for $100 or less, and non-surgical extractions rarely cost more than $250 or so. (An oral surgeon may be called in to perform a deeper extraction, but even those are more more affordable than root canal procedures.)

The Time Factor - Also, bear in mind that root canals require multiple visits to the dentist. On the day of the procedure itself, he or she will drill into the tooth and use instruments to clean out the infection, then seal the tooth to prevent future infection. But this is merely the starting point: you will later need to visit the dentist to have the tooth core rebuilt and a restorative crown placed over the damaged tooth. Conversely, an extraction is typically completed in one visit. The dentist will anesthetize, then remove the tooth and suture the incision, and the recovery is done at home. She may cut away the gum and bone before removing the tooth with forceps, either whole or in pieces. Pain Typically, an extraction will cause more pain and discomfort. Modern root canal therapy generally causes very little pain or recovery time, while an extraction involves stitching and careful recovery over the next few days.

Long-term Prognosis: Root canals, which are aimed at treatment and restoration, generally result in long-lasting functionality. On the other hand, an extraction is often a stopgap measure that can require more dental work down the road. Uneven teeth or gaps in your jaw line often create an uneven bite that must be remedied later with an implant, a bridge, or even a partial denture. For an extraction, the dentist may wish to fit you for a bridge, implant or partial denture.