What is better: root canal vs. extraction in Chicago

Patient with Dentist If it were a perfect world, no one would ever forget an umbrella, catch a cold, or lose a tooth. Unfortunately, these things happen to people just like you, every day. What's the good news? If you come to Big Smile Dental in Chicago, your world can get a little closer to perfect. Although we can't help you with rainstorms and cold germs, we just might be able to save your tooth. First, we need to clear up some confusion about root canal vs. extraction.

Why we fear the big, bad, root canal

The story is “rooted” in the history of dentistry. In the early days of medicine, dentists (and doctors) didn't have great anesthetic options. Sometimes, they didn't even have training. Removing a nerve without it being completely numb doesn't sound like a fun time. Without the benefits of modern sealants and bonding agents, the tooth often became re-infected. The root canal procedure became known as "painful and ineffective".

Today's root canal – kind, gentle, and misunderstood

What has changed today? In a word, everything has changed. Now we have advanced formula anesthetics, so you don't feel a thing during the procedure. Soreness afterward is minimal or non-existent. The problematic nerves (and other infected, damaged tissues) in the tooth are gone, so they can no longer hurt. With modern dental sealants and filling materials, bacteria can't get back inside your tooth, so it doesn't become re-infected. Unfortunately, no one updated the common perception of root canal procedures to reflect "virtually painless and highly effective".

Wouldn't extraction be easier?

Some people think it would be simpler just to pull the tooth. No tooth, no problem – right? Wrong. If your foot had an infection, you wouldn't cut off your whole leg and expect to hop around and function as usual. Likewise, you can't expect your other teeth to do double-duty without some problems. A gap in your smile causes your remaining teeth to shift and wear out faster, your bone to recede, and chewing becomes difficult.

When extraction is needed (or the tooth is already gone), we have solutions. A dental bridge is an effective replacement, and an implant is an excellent replacement. However, pulling and replacing a tooth does not involve any fewer steps than removing the pulp and crowning the tooth.

The worst possible solution to an infected tooth is doing nothing. Unless you've grown fond of constant pain and the thought that bacteria are living inside your tooth, call Big Smile Dental today at 773-772-8400 and schedule an appointment.

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Dr. Theodore M. Siegel Root Cannal

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