It is easy to have misgivings about certain things if you have preconceived ideas in your head
and root canal treatments is a good example of a procedure that some people are immediately
fearful of as soon as they hear the term mentioned.
Whether your treatment is covered by someone like Guardian Life Dental Plans or not, it makes
sense to find out exactly what is involved with root canal work before making any sort of decision
on whether to go ahead and act on your dentist’s recommendation.
If your tooth is suffering from decay this can cause the tooth’s nerve and pulp to become irritated,
inflamed and subsequently infected as a result.
Some telltales signs to look out for that could be an indication of a problem with the nerve in your
tooth, includes very painful toothache caused by chewing or when you apply any sort of pressure
to the damaged tooth.
Other problems associated with nerve damage in your tooth include prolonged sensitivity to hot
or cold temperatures and a noticeable discoloration of the tooth.
When your tooth starts to darken more than the others around it that is a symptom of root damage
and needs to be checked out urgently by your dentist.
You should also be aware that sometimes you might actually display no symptoms whatsoever,
so it is not always immediately obvious for some patients that they may need root canal treatment.
If the nerve inside your tooth has been irreversibly damaged, which is referred to as irreversible pulpitis,
root canal treatment is not the only option open to you but there are implications attached to the alternatives.
The easiest option is of course to do nothing at all, which seems like a good idea if your tooth is not currently
giving you any problems and you are not experiencing any discomfort.
The point to remember about this course of action is that you are making a decision to leave an infection
to develop in your body by leaving your tooth to its own devices.
On balance, it would not be a great idea to do nothing with a dead tooth and if the bacteria develops
you could subsequently suffer some pain and even get an acute abscess.
“Extraction is definitely a cheaper alternative
to root canal work but if the prognosis for the tooth
is good, it is always preferable to try and keep
the tooth and consider root canal treatment.”
Sometimes it is not possible to perform a root canal and this is a circumstance where an extraction
of the tooth might be advisable.
This is not a decision taken lightly by the dentist as tooth extraction is always viewed as a last resort
when you consider the aesthetic problems and other issues such as difficulty with speech and
chewing that might occur as a result of your tooth being taken out.
Extraction is definitely a cheaper alternative to root canal work but if the prognosis for the tooth
is good, it is always preferable to try and keep the tooth and consider root canal treatment.
Suitability for Root Canal Treatment
There are several circumstances where it may not be advisable or even possible to have root
The process of drilling and filing involved with root canal work requires space for the dentist
to work in inside your mouth and some people simply don’t have that much room and if you
have a very small mouth, the dentist might decide it is not feasible to be able to offer you
You also need to be physically and mentally prepared for the work involved and if you are
not someone who can spend extended periods in the dentist’s chair while the work is carried out,
you might not be considered a suitable candidate for root canal treatment.
“It is always best to treat each case on
its individual merits and take the time
to have a full conversation with your
dentist about your treatment options
and general prognosis.”
If you have a poor prognosis and your tooth is considered to be non-restorable by your dentist,
there is little point in spending the money having the root canal work done.
An example of this scenario would be if the decay has already extended below the crest of the
bone that is supporting your tooth.
If this is the case, an extraction might be the most viable option.
Treat each case on its merits.
Whilst the purpose of each root canal treatment is largely to achieve the same positive outcome
for your tooth and oral health in general, every person has a slightly different set of circumstances
This is why it is always best to treat each case on its individual merits and take the time to have
a full conversation with your dentist about your treatment options and general prognosis.
About the Author:
Lauren Wells has worked as a dental assistant for 5 years. She shares her knowledge by writing articles in her spare time which mostly appear on health sites.
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