Tooth decay is a common occurrence amongst many people, and it’s a consequence of not looking after your teeth and gums owing to poor oral hygiene. When teeth decay, they’re prone to infection. This can cause the centre core of a tooth to open in the form of a dental cavity. The decay can get even worse and lead to problems with your gums.
With tooth decay, there are two typical treatments that a dentist would consider depending on the severity of the concern, root canal or tooth extraction. Here are some other reasons why the dentist may consider either form of treatment:
- A tooth is severely decayed
- A tooth has been chipped or cracked
- Teeth are overcrowded causing biting problems
- Hot and cold sensitivity to foods
- Trauma from a physical accident
- Impact on chewing ability
Root canal vs extraction is two reliable forms of treatment for tooth decay. So, what’s the difference between the two?
Let’s take a closer look at them both.
What Is A Root Canal?
A root canal is administered when the dentist identifies that a decayed tooth may well be damaged in the form of a deep cavity or a crack, citing bacteria in the centre of the tooth. However, the tooth is not considered ‘dead’, meaning healthy remains of the tooth have been identified. The dentist will examine the bone density and gum support around the tooth so that it is safe to keep the tooth as opposed to extracting it.
Root canal treatment involves removing the infected bacteria (or pulp) from the affected area, and the inside of the tooth is disinfected, cleaned and sealed. This is to avoid the tooth becoming further infected.
What Is Tooth Extraction?
Tooth extraction is the process of applying local anesthetic in and around the affected area and safely pulling out the tooth with special forceps equipment. The anesthetic is designed to make sure that you feel as little pain as possible when the dentist pulls the tooth.
Root Canal vs Extraction – What Are The Risks?
Many dentists would consider using root canal vs extraction especially if there are still healthy remains of a tooth that can be saved. Tooth extraction comes with a high infection rate. When the tooth is extracted, this leaves a gap, and bacteria can easily penetrate the gums which can spread to your neighbouring teeth as well.
There are also other complications with tooth extraction, particularly with your neighbouring teeth which can shift out of position because there is a lack of support to keep teeth firmly in place. This can cause overcrowding and misalignment.
There are fewer risks with a root canal in comparison with extraction. Although, the dentist will need to ensure that during root canal treatment, the enamel doesn’t get damaged, and it would be up to the patient to ensure the saved tooth is looked after accordingly to avoid further complications.
Root Canal vs Extraction – What Are The Costs?
The cost between root canal vs extraction can play a vital role in the decision making of the patient. Typically, the cost of a root canal can start from $700 for one canal. It is also important to note that location may impact the total cost. For example, Sydney and Melbourne are two cities that are typically more expensive for an average cost of dental treatment.
Tooth extraction treatment is naturally cheaper and is typically costed on a tooth-by-tooth basis. A single tooth extraction cost can start from $250 but can be more expensive if there are additional complexities with the treatment.
Is A Root Canal Permanent?
Root canals are considered a very successful form of treatment and can last a lifetime, but this depends on how well it is looked after. The dentist will provide an adequate treatment plan that details the appropriate oral hygiene steps to look after it.
Does Insurance Cover Root Canal Or Tooth Extraction?
Dental insurance in Australia typically covers preventative treatments such as dental cleanings, scale, and polish, filings, and x-rays. Major dentistry covers more complex treatments including root canal and extraction treatment.
There are cost differences between root canal vs extraction, but dental insurance doesn’t typically cover either of these treatments.
If you’re seeking to understand more about root canal vs extraction, or you need to speak to a dentist to undergo treatment, contact your local dentist today to get the best advice for your smile!