Alternatives to Root Canal Treatment

Alternatives to Root Canal Treatment By Dr. Abhi Singh | December 3, 2021

Alternatives to Root Canal Treatment

Root canal therapy is a dental procedure that is often recommended by dental professionals to patients who have experienced severe tooth pain, trauma, or injury in their teeth. The treatment involves removing the nerve and inflamed pulp from the inside of the tooth, then filling it with a biocompatible material.

Many people are afraid when they hear they require root canal treatment, and they become curious about alternatives to treating an infected tooth.

Here, we will discuss alternatives to root canal treatment as well as the disadvantages and benefits of root canal therapy.

Root canal therapy (endodontic treatment) is a type of common dental procedure that is used to restore a tooth. It involves the removal of infected dental pulp to prevent tooth loss, which is designed to preserve your natural tooth.

When a tooth is extensively damaged or decayed, the soft tissue inside the tooth, known as the tooth pulp, can become inflamed or infected.

Deep decay or cavities, injured or chipped teeth, and repetitive dental work on a tooth are the common reasons for damaging the inner pulp. The dental pulp is the soft centre of the tooth and is made up of living blood vessels, connective tissue, and nerves. The pulp, also known as the nerve, spreads out and extends down each root through the canals of the tooth, stopping just ahead of the tip of the tooth.

During root canal treatment, the infected or inflamed pulp is removed. Then, the inside of the root, including the root canals, will be cleaned and eliminate the infection. After the filling has been completed, the tooth is sealed, and finally, a dental restoration such as a crown is recommended to restore the affected tooth.

Before, root canal therapy was viewed as a painful, invasive procedure. However, with the advancement of technology, root canals are relatively comfortable and have high success rates. Nevertheless, you may still be wondering if there are other options for root canal treatment.

Only your dentist can advise you on the best treatment plan for you based on the state of the nerves and the severity of the infection or inflammation.

The extraction of the infected tooth and restoration with a dental bridge, implant, or partial denture is a popular alternative to root canal therapy. However, this does not compare to the benefits of preserving a natural tooth that root canal therapy offers.

The initial effect of not replacing an extracted tooth is cosmetic and functional. But after a while, further effects like the movement of the upper or side teeth may occur, and adjacent teeth may shift. When neighbouring teeth move, it will create space, which allows more room for food to get stuck, increasing the risk of cavities and functional difficulties.

If the health of a tooth has deteriorated, it is often a more predictable option to remove the entire tooth and replace it with a dental implant.

Dental implants are constructed of titanium or zirconia, both of which are strong materials that are naturally suitable for the human body. Dental implants are placed directly into your jawbone, making them completely safe and long-lasting. Moreover, dental implants, like natural teeth, stimulate bone and tissue growth.

This alternative also involves removing the entire infected tooth. A fixed bridge replaces missing teeth, and they are bonded to adjacent teeth. In order to replace a missing tooth with a dental bridge, surrounding teeth must be prepared (shaping or trimming down nearby teeth). A dental bridge may cost more than a root canal or a single dental crown. This option’s effectiveness also depends on the support of the adjacent teeth.

A sealer is applied to seal off access to the pulp in this case. However, this is not always an effective treatment option for a diseased pulp, and you may require root canal therapy later on.It may simply postpone the inevitable. 

Root canal therapy aims to preserve your original tooth and is often recommended by dental professionals to remove the infection inside the tooth.

We use this treatment to save teeth affected by severe tooth decay, cracking, or trauma. However, there are complex cases where root canals may not work well. If the tooth is too severely injured, it may not be an optimal option and tooth extraction may be necessary to save your oral health.

Having an infected pulp may not produce any symptoms until the decay is so extensive. A diagnostic x-ray can help confirm if the decay has extended into the canal. However, there are other telltale signs that a tooth may need root canal treatment.

The following are the common signs of tooth infection:

The expense of root canal therapy is determined by various factors, including the number of canals that must be filled and whether or not you require a crown.

According to the 2020 annual national dental fee survey, the average cost of root canals without a crown can range between $2,000 and $3,400. In contrast, a molar root canal with three canals may cost $2,760 without a crown and $4,760 with a crown.

Another benefit of root canals is that most health insurance policies have coverage.

Most patients report that their root canal experience was virtually painless. Root canal therapy causes less discomfort during recovery than having your natural teeth extracted. Modern techniques and effective anaesthesia influence the success of the procedure.

Root canal therapy has long-term advantages that can significantly improve your oral health and well‐being. If a diseased tooth is neglected for an extended period, it may deteriorate beyond repair, requiring tooth extraction.

Once the bacteria has been removed, the tooth will be cleaned and disinfected, which will prevent the bacteria from causing toothaches or tooth decay in the future. It is impossible for the infection to spread if the diseased tooth is treated immediately. 

Endodontic treatment allows you to keep your natural smile, consume the foods you enjoy, and reduce the need for continuing dental work. If you maintain good oral hygiene habits, most root canal treated teeth can last a lifetime.

Having an inflamed pulp can bring excruciating pain. When you experience a severe toothache, it may have a significant impact on your quality of life, affecting the way you perform daily tasks or causing you to suffer from a sleepless night. Root canal treatment ceases this problem after removing the damaged tooth pulp.

The preservation of the tooth is one of the major benefits of root canal treatment. When teeth are saved, the jawbone is also preserved. Over time, a lost tooth promotes jawbone degeneration.

While root canal therapy is supported by recent studies to be successful, it also has potential drawbacks that you may need to know about. 

It is possible for the tooth to be fragile after a root canal treatment. Thus, it is important to consider getting a tooth replacement right away. A root canal-treated tooth is more susceptible to fracture, although it can be strengthened with a post and a porcelain crown.

Our root canals have different shapes and numbers. While our dental team takes measures and assesses your tooth carefully, there are cases when the number of actual root canals may be different from what was anticipated. Moreover, it may also be possible that tooth roots have cracks.

One of the problems that we always avoid is the recurrence of infection. Yet, there are instances when, following the treatment, a new infection or residual of bacteria is present. Possible reasons may be a hole in the restoration that has allowed bacteria to enter the tooth’s interior, and the inner sealing material wearing down over time, causing bacteria to recontaminate the inner tooth.

Root canal therapy is generally safe and efficient. It aims at preserving your real teeth by removing diseased pulp or infection inside your tooth. It also offers various benefits, both for practical and clinical reasons.

Having a proper consultation with a dentist will help you decide which treatment will work best for you without compromising your health. The success rate of endodontic treatment also depends on your health and oral health, dental hygiene habits, and regular checkups.

Prospect Road Dental Surgery is pleased that Prospect Road people trust their teeth and oral health to us. We aim to provide each patient with the best dental care. We’d love to discuss this further, as well as alternatives to root canal therapy.

Prospect Road Dental Surgery
Dr. Abhi Singh
Dr. Abhi is a member of the Australian Dental Association and loves living and working in our community. He has eight years of experience in all aspects of dentistry, with a special interest in dental implants, wisdom teeth extraction, and cosmetic dentistry.