Root Canal Alternative Treatments: Pros and Cons

root canal alternativeA root canal involves the removal of the nerves and pulp that are housed within the center and lower parts of each and every tooth. This is the part of the tooth that provides sensory function and is able to identify pain, hot and cold.

Many people are concerned about root canal pain, and those people might be surprised to know that for most people who see an experienced and reputable root canal dentist, the procedure is no more painful than those used to fill a tooth. The only root canal alternative is extraction of the tooth, and there are pros and cons to this type of alternative therapy that you should know about before you decide that a root canal is not right for you.

CON: Hole in the mouth: In the case of a root canal alternative extraction, your tooth won’t be saved! This will allow for the movement and shifting of your teeth that can occur when a space is freed up and will mar the look of your pearly whites. In addition, your ability to chew food might be inhibited due to the missing tooth, depending on location. Bridges and implants can be employed, however these will likely far exceed standard root canal cost and so if you’re considering extraction as a means to save money, realize that it may cost you more in the long run if you choose to implement any of these tooth replacement options.

PRO: Upfront Cost: If you are short on cash, extraction might be the best option for you. A root canal will typically run anywhere between $500 and $800, and an extraction just a fraction of that. Insurance normally covers all or part of both procedures for those who have coverage, and this translates to even lower cost in some cases for those favoring extraction as a root canal alternative.

PRO: Lower Risk: Having a tooth extracted as a means of treatment as a root canal alternative normally results in few adverse after effects, although the risk of infection is present. However, there are some root canal complications that scare many people right out of the dentist’s chair and one of them is a root canal infection which can be painful and lead to subsequent dental work.

CON: Recovery: While almost all invasive dental procedures involve some sort of period of discomfort following the procedure, there are some variances amongst the different types of treatments performed. Having a tooth extracted not only can be more painful following the trip to the dentist’s office, this root canal alternative also carries other risks, such as a dry socket, which can be tremendously painful and last for quite some time. There is also a root canal recovery time to consider, however this is normally minimal and most people return to normal activity the later the same day or the next day, although will have to take special care not to chew on the treated tooth for the first couple of days to prevent the risk of infection being introduced into the tooth.