If you’ve ever had a toothache, you know it’s one of those experiences you want to avoid at all costs! It’s bad enough that you have to deal with the pain, but you’re also left wondering whether you’ll need to have the tooth extracted or have root canal therapy done. What are the factors that your dentist will look at? What are these procedures like? Here, we’ll look at the different considerations involved in determining whether you need an extraction or a root canal in Hackettstown.
What Factors Will Your Dentist Be Looking At?
Before looking at the various types of problems a tooth can have, it’s helpful to understand its basic structure first:
- Enamel – This is the outer layer that you see, and is the hardest, toughest part of the tooth.
- Dentin – Next is the softer, more sensitive layer called dentin.
- Pulp – This inner core is the softest part of the tooth and contains vertical canals through which the nerves run. This is also where the tooth receives blood flow that keeps it vital and alive.
One of the main factors that determine if a tooth can be saved with a root canal is how much of this outer structure of the tooth, the enamel and dentin, is still intact.
As you know, cavities are one of the most common problems that affect teeth. The question is how large the cavity is and how close it’s gotten to the pulp, or nerve, of the tooth. If the cavity reached the nerve and caused infection, but didn’t do too much damage to the enamel and dentin, a root canal will fix the problem.
Cracks or fractures are another cause of damage to teeth. Again, the main consideration is how large the crack is. If the crack is large or extends under the gumline, there isn’t enough viable tooth structure left and an extraction is often necessary.
What Are the Procedures Like?
If your tooth can be saved with a root canal, you’ll be fully numbed so that you don’t feel a thing during the procedure. The dentist will create a small opening in our tooth, remove the infected pulp, and clean out the nerve canal thoroughly. The canal will then be filled with a special material and the tooth will be “closed.”
Since the tooth has now lost its blood supply and can become brittle and break, a crown is usually recommended after a root canal to give the tooth strength.
If you need an extraction in Hackettstown, your dentist will get you completely numb, making sure you’re comfortable before getting started. You’ll feel some pressure as the tooth is removed, but nothing sharp or painful.
After the extraction, sutures will be placed and you’ll bite down on gauze to help the clotting process. Then you’ll be given instructions for the following couple of weeks while the site heals (e.g., eating and drinking, things to avoid, etc.)
With this information, you’ll be able to ask your dentist the right questions the next time you have a toothache, which may not take the pain away, but will make taking care of it that much easier!
About the Author
Drs. Zahir Khokhar and Arindam Kakkar are highly distinguished general, restorative and cosmetic dentists that are committed to providing the best dental care possible to their patients. They regularly pursue advanced training and education so they can fulfill that goal. If you’re not sure if you need an extraction or root canal and have been searching for a “dentist near me” for more information, you can contact either Dr. Khokhar or Dr. Kakkar with questions via their website, or at (908) 509-4411.