Root Canal Therapy vs. Tooth Extraction: Which Is Right for You? By Mike Meek, DDS on June 16, 2023

red gumsA damaged or decayed tooth can be painful and make simple things like eating and speaking difficult. When this occurs, root canal therapy or tooth extraction is necessary in order to resolve your pain and restore your oral health. But which treatment method is best for you, root canal treatment or tooth extraction? At 38th Street Dental in Austin, TX, we evaluate each patient based on their unique needs in order to provide the highest level of care possible for our patients. 

Root Canal Therapy

If you suffer from an infection in the tooth roots or tooth decay, oftentimes, the first line of treatment is root canal treatment. Root canal therapy allows your dentist to remove the infected pulp from the tooth roots. This pulp consists of tissue and vessels within the tooth roots. Because of the location of the infections, antibiotics alone are often not enough to eliminate the infection completely. If left untreated, the infection can spread, causing further pain and oral health issues. 

Signs you may need root canal treatment include:

  • Pus or drainage
  • Pain in the tooth or gums
  • Redness or swelling of the gums
  • Bad breath or taste

Tooth Extraction

Tooth extraction is often a last resort to treat dental concerns. Whenever possible, preserving the tooth structure is best. When you are missing a tooth, you are at risk of your other teeth shifting, further tooth loss, and jawbone deterioration. This can mean more dental procedures like dental implants and restoration to prevent these issues, or bone grafting if bone loss does occur.

However, if the tooth is beyond repair due to damage or decay, an extraction may be necessary to preserve your oral health and prevent the spread of infection and decay to your other teeth. There are other instances where an extraction may be needed, including:

  • Severe tooth decay
  • Unsuccessful root canal therapy
  • A damaged tooth that cannot be repaired by other means
  • Significant structural damage
  • Advanced gum disease
  • Severe crowding

Which Is Less Painful?

It is a common misconception that root canal treatment and tooth extractions are painful. If you undergo root canal therapy or extraction at 38th Street Dental, we will thoroughly numb the area before any treatment begins. We also offer sedation options at our Austin dental practice, including nitrous oxide and oral conscious sedation for those with anxiety or for patients who need an extra level of comfort. However, root canal therapy typically requires less recovery time than an extraction. 

Which Is Right for Me?

Every patient is different and it is impossible to tell which method of treatment is best for you without an initial consultation at our dental practice in Austin, TX. During this appointment, we will examine your mouth. X-rays may be performed to get an overall picture of your teeth, jaw, and mouth. 

Based on the findings, we will develop a customized treatment plan that will be best for you. If an extraction is required due to damage or decay, we can also discuss further options such as dental implants and a restoration like a dental crown, bridge, or denture to fill in the gap. 

If you are living with a damaged tooth or pain, give us a call today to schedule an appointment.

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The team at 38th Street Dental

38th Street Dental

38th Street Dental in Austin, TX, utilizes the latest proven technology to provide you personalized dental care. Dr. Meek and Dr. Tasch are members of local and national dental associations, including:

  • The American Dental Association
  • The Texas Dental Association
  • The Academy of General Dentistry
  • The Capital Area Dental Society

To schedule an appointment, call us at (512) 458-6222 or contact us online today!

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