An infection in your tooth can cause serious pain, but even if you don't notice any pain, it is still a condition that must be treated immediately. If left untreated, a tooth abscess may worsen or spread to other parts of your body. Currently, there are only two methods for treating an infected tooth: extraction and root canal therapy. If you aren't sure which is the right choice, check out these three must-know facts.
Neither Procedure Is Painful
Many people hear the term "root canal" and quiver with fear because root canal therapy is extremely painful, right? Wrong. The pressure an abscess puts on the nerves in your teeth is painful. During root canal therapy, the dentist numbs the area with a local anesthetic. It's the same one your dentist uses when you have a cavity, so you shouldn't feel anything. In fact, if you've been in pain, this should be a relief for you. The only unpleasantness you may experience is some pressure or grinding when the dentist removes the infection/pulp from the tooth roots.
So what about extractions? They must be painful, right? Again, you're numb during a tooth extraction, so you shouldn't feel anything. As with root canal therapy, you may experience some awkward but painless pressure. If you're really scared, just ask about anxiety-reducing options, such as inhalation sedation, IV sedation and oral sedation. These options keep you calm and relaxed during the entire process.
Recovery Time Is Faster With a Root Canal Treatment
Root canal treatment involves removing the entire pulp of the tooth. This pulp consists of the blood vessels, nerves, etc. All this aggravation to your tooth may lead to some minor discomfort once the anesthetic wears off. This minor pain is easy to control with over-the-counter and prescription medications.
Like with root canal therapy, after an extraction, you'll probably have some discomfort and sensitivity, but recovery for a tooth extraction is more involved. You'll want to avoid eating on that side of the mouth to keep it clean. You'll also need to prevent dry socket by avoiding sucking hard (straws, smoking, spitting, etc.). If you had a surgical extraction, which required an incision, you may have stitches that may need to be removed.
Root Canals May Save You Money
Tooth extractions cost about $75 to $650 depending on whether it is a surgical or non-surgical extraction, and dental insurance usually covers 70 to 80 percent. A root canal treatment costs about $300 to $2,000, depending on how many roots the tooth has. Insurance may cover 40 to 80 percent. Either way, you're going to spend more initially for a root canal treatment. Plus, if you do get root canal therapy, you'll need a crown to strengthen and protect it or the tooth might break, which increases the cost.
This higher initial cost may have you asking for an extraction to save money, but there are additional costs to consider with extractions. Root canal therapy saves the tooth, so you won't need to have it replaced, but if you have your tooth extracted, you should have it replaced to retain functionality. Your options are partial denture, dental bridge and dental implant. If you choose a dental bridge or implant, you'll probably end up spending as much or more than the cost of the root canal and crown.
Tooth infections are serious, so whether yours is causing pain or not, you need to treat it. While you could have the tooth extracted, root canals save teeth so you don't need to have a replacement, and the recovery time is faster. If you are ready to finally have that tooth infection treated once and for all, contact a clinic like Family Dental Center TriCities, PC.