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Root Canals Pros & Cons

Is a Root Canal Right for Your Situation?

Root Canals Help by Repairing Infected Teeth

White teeth and healthy gums are evidence of good oral hygiene. Sometimes, in spite of our diligent mouth care, a tooth may become sensitive or infected. The pulp of the tooth, which contains nerves allowing us to feel pain, can become irritated, inflamed or infected due to decay, cracked fillings or trauma. Pain is an unwelcome visitor and infection can spread to other teeth, even into our bloodstream traveling to other areas of our body. The cause of pain must be diagnosed and infection must be removed. A dental exam and x-rays can determine the source of pain and whether or not the tooth will benefit from a root canal. If you have a tooth sensitive to hot or cold that doesn’t go away for an hour or more, you may have an infected tooth pulp. Toothache, without a stimulus, may indicate a dying tooth. An abscess is an infection in the jawbone at the base of the tooth root. Bone will not grow around infection which could lead to bone loss in that area. Frequent tooth pain requires diagnosing and early treatment can possibly save an existing tooth.

A root canal is a method of preserving a dead tooth. A small hole is drilled into the top of the tooth. The pulp and nerve from inside the tooth are removed and the canal is disinfected, cleared of infection and scrubbed clean. The vacant area is then filled with a rubber material and sealed on top. In determining the need for a root canal the dentist must decide that the tooth pulp is dead or dying. A dental exam and x-rays will reveal the condition of the tooth and surrounding teeth and gums. You should always consider treatments that will save a tooth. Extracting teeth will leave a space allowing remaining teeth to shift affecting your ability to chew.

Pros for a Root Canal

  • Root canal therapy is 95% effective.
  • The procedure is simple with minimal discomfort afterwards.
  • Bone is not lost or damaged with root canal.
  • Pain relief is obtained with over the counter medicines.
  • Root canal is an economical means of saving a tooth.

Cons for a Root Canal

  • More than one visit is needed to complete the procedure
  • The remaining part of the tooth could break during the procedure due to its weakened condition.
  • If infection is present, a medicine may be put inside the tooth to clear it out before canal is filled with rubber and sealed. A temporary filling will cover the exterior hole.
  • A root has several canals that twist and turn and make it difficult to remove 100% of infection.
  • Due to weak condition of the tooth from previous decay or infection, a crown will need to be placed to protect the remaining part of the tooth.
  • First a temporary crown is placed then a permanent crown following in a week or so. While the temporary crown is protecting the tooth, a soft diet is recommended to keep it from working loose. The permanent crown will be firmly cemented in place and usual diet can be resumed.

Alternatives to Root Canals


This may be the only choice if the tooth is too decayed or damaged for a root canal. Healing takes around two weeks if you are in good health. Your dentist can provide you with information about the procedure and comfort measures provided if this is the chosen or recommended option. When the tooth is removed there is space for remaining teeth to shift. Food has a new area to hide until decay can form on neighboring teeth. When the gum is healed an implant will preserve the space and keep other teeth from shifting out of place.


An implant is a titanium post set into a healthy jawbone that supports a crown, bridge or denture. It is an anchor, so to speak, that forms a bond with the jawbone. Implants are permanent as are crowns. You must have healthy gums and adequate bone support to hold the implant in place. With proper oral hygiene they will last a lifetime. This is the most expensive option. Most dental insurance companies will cover a portion of the cost. CareCredit is a company that allows medical bills to be paid off over time. Your dental office staff can give you information about this option.

Pain and infection will not go away unless treated, it will only get worse. White Oak Family Dentistry in Garner, NC will help you keep your teeth and gums healthy but you have to make the first move and call to make an appointment. Don’t wait until the pain is out of control and you need emergency care. If the signs of tooth problems are evident seek treatment before it gets worse. White Oak Family Dentistry in Garner, NC is waiting to help rid you of tooth pain. Call 919.986.0151 or schedule a consultation today.

Written by White Oak Family Dentistry

White Oak Family Dentistry provides top quality dental care to patients in Garner, Clayton, Raleigh and the surrounding area. We specialize in crowns, veneers, bridges and all types of dental hygiene and care with a true compassion for our patients' comfort and well being. Call us today at (919) 986-0151 to schedule and appointment.