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Root Canal Alternatives: Why You Might Need Them

Human Tooth Anatomy Concept
Root canal treatment is probably the best way to treat and save an infected tooth. Alternative treatments are also available that you can try. Here is a brief overview of the alternative treatments and when they may be best.
The Alternatives
Here are the treatments you can try if a root canal treatment is not an option.
Tooth Temporization
In tooth temporization, the dentist will execute the initial steps associated with root canal treatment but will not execute the full treatment. Instead, the dentist does just enough to deaden the pain. Temporization is a temporary measure because it just deals with the pain and doesn't get rid of the problem. You still need to plan a permanent solution for your diseased tooth.
Tooth Extraction
Another alternative to root canal treatment is to extract the diseased tooth. Extraction works because it gets rid of the diseased tooth. Afterwards, the dentist treats the extraction site to get rid of bacterial remnants.
Note that tooth extraction is not always an advisable alternative to a root canal treatment. When you extract a tooth without replacing it, you weaken the adjacent teeth and may also lose them in the future. The adjacent teeth may also lose their alignment and lean toward the vacant spot.
Tooth Replacement
Instead of extracting your tooth and leaving its space vacant, you can extract it and replace it with a suitable material. Viable tooth replacement options include dental implants, dental bridges, and dentures.
A huge advantage of tooth replacement is that the replacement, which is an artificial material, won't suffer any dental disease (new bacteria can still attack your tooth after a root canal). Another advantage is that you get to maintain the integrity of your jawbone and don't endanger the adjacent teeth.
Pulp Cupping
You can also try pulp cupping to avoid a root canal treatment. In a root canal treatment, the dentist hollows out the tooth and removes the pulp tissues with the offending nerves. In pulp cupping, the dentist thoroughly cleans the diseased pulp and then seals it with a suitable material, typically plastic.
Pulp cupping is a suitable alternative to a root canal treatment if the infection is still in its infancy. Pulp cupping is both faster and cheaper than a root canal. You can still get root canal treatment in case pulp cupping doesn't work.
Reasons for Avoiding Root Canal
You should keep in mind that the above alternatives are inferior to root canal treatment. You may wonder why anyone would opt for alternative treatments at all. Here are some of the reasons.
Inadequate Finances
Some of the alternative treatments are cheaper than a root canal treatment. Tooth extraction, pulp cupping, and temporization are all cheaper than a root canal treatment. Therefore, as a root canal candidate without adequate money or insurance, you can opt for alternative treatments. The alternative treatments may not be as effective as root canal treatment, but they are better than nothing.
Difficult Schedule
A root canal treatment typically takes multiple visits to complete. The number of treatment schedules may make it difficult to get root canal treatment if you are on a tight schedule. For example, if you have an important job assignment coming up or you want to relocate to another city, you may opt for a quicker treatment, even if it's a temporary measure.
Problematic Tooth History
Lastly, the alternatives to root canal treatment may make sense if you fear that a root canal treatment may not be successful. Such a fear may arise, for example, if the tooth has a history of problems and you have tried different treatment options without success. In such a case, you may decide to get rid of the tooth once and for all.
At Tomsik Family Dentistry, we have the resources and experience to help you deal with your ailing tooth. Whether you want a root canal or an alternative treatment, we are here to offer you relief. Book an appointment with us today so that we can assess your teeth and advise you on the best treatment for your case.