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Root Canal Vs Extraction: What’s the Difference?

Anytime one of your teeth becomes infected or damaged, your dentist will either remove the tooth entirely or treat it by giving you a root canal. There are many differences between the two dental procedures and, depending on your circumstances, one of them is usually a better choice than the other.

It’s Time to Get a Root Canal

Root Canal Vs Extraction: What's the Difference?

Your dentist will most likely advise you to have a root canal if the pulp at the center of your tooth is damaged, but the exterior of your tooth is still in good shape. The pulp allows fresh blood to circulate to your teeth, but when your tooth develops a crack or you develop a cavity it can result in a dead tooth. Both of these conditions enable harmful bacteria to make their way to the pulp, which can lead to a bad infection.

During a root canal, your dentist will take an x-ray, numb the area around the infection, and then drill a small hole into the crown of your tooth. Next, your dentist will extract the dead or diseased pulp down to the roots, fill the extraction site with a temporary filling, and finish off by closing the hole with a sealant. 

Once the procedure is complete, the harmful bacteria will no longer affect the tooth and new bacteria will not be able to make their way in.

It’s Time to Have Your Tooth Pulled

In the event that it is too dangerous or too difficult for your dentist to preserve your tooth, he or she will recommend an extraction. This will be the likely course of action suggested for any sizeable cavities that have destroyed most of your tooth. A very deep cavity usually makes a tooth almost impossible to fix.

Extraction might also be recommended if your tooth has a significant crack. If the crack in your tooth extends below your gum line, there is no viable resolution other than having it pulled.

To perform an extraction, your dentist will anesthetize the general area, work your tooth around a bit in order to loosen it, and then pull it out. Bleeding, sometimes heavily, is common in dental extractions. Once the tooth is pulled, your dentist will probably have you bite down on a gauze pad so a blood clot will form. Bleeding is possible for as long as a full day after you have a tooth extracted.

At McBride Dental, we provide a full range of dental services that help our patients maintain healthy teeth and gums. Only through routine dental appointments and diligent oral care can you keep your teeth healthy and functional.

The professional staff at the San Diego offices of Dr. Michael McBride are able to answer any questions you may have regarding cosmetic or restorative dentistry, as well as various common dental procedures. 

We can assist you in establishing good oral health habits to ensure that your teeth are always there when you need them and your smile always looks perfect.

If you would like to schedule an appointment with us, please give us a call at (760) 471-1003 and speak with a member of our dental staff today.


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