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Whenever possible, a good dentist will try to save your existing teeth. There are a lot of benefits to keeping your own teeth rather than getting extractions and dental appliances. However, sometimes saving the tooth is not possible. Here’s what you need to know.

What Is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a treatment for infection within the tooth itself. Your tooth is composed in part by a complex root system embedded deep within your gum. When this root system becomes infected or inflamed, it needs to be cleaned to prevent further disease or complications. The tooth is opened up, the root is cleaned of debris and infection, and a filling or crown is placed over the tooth after treatment.

By contrast, a tooth extraction involves removing the whole tooth, including the root, from the mouth. An extraction leaves a gap in your smile that can have many consequences.

Why You Should Keep Your Teeth

If it is at all possible to keep your teeth, you should do so. A root canal can preserve the tooth, which preserves your bite and how you chew. This can have an effect on the health of your jaw bone, as well as your nutritional health. If you do have teeth removed, they should be replaced with an implant or dental appliance.

When to Get an Extraction

Clearly we will try to save your tooth with a root canal if possible. But there are some situations in which a root canal will not be appropriate, and extraction is the better choice. Examples of these types of situations are as follows:

  • Your teeth are dead from infection or decay.
  • You have advanced periodontal (gum) disease.
  • Your teeth are overcrowded.
  • Your teeth grew in improperly, such as impacted wisdom teeth.
  • If you have dental pain or decay in your teeth, we can help you determine the best course of treatment. Contact us today for more information or to schedule an exam.