Many of our patients at Bow Lane Dental Group in Central London ask this question a lot. 'What is a root canal?', 'What is a tooth extraction?' and 'What's the difference between root canal and extraction? With some patients, there comes a time when a tooth requires root canal treatment.
This is required to either treat an infection, or prevent an infection. In these situations, the options are limited to either root canal treatment or removing the tooth.
The ideal situation is to keep the tooth. The success rate of root canal treatment in resolving the infection or prevent it developing is often over 90%. However there are other factors to consider.
Aesthetics and a nice smile are reasons for keeping the tooth and this is obvious when the tooth is visible in the smile. However what about the molars which can not always be seen? An important factor in keeping these back teeth is the occlusion or bite.
Teeth are required for biting and chewing. Having molar teeth that meet in the correct way allows for the biting forces of chewing to be evenly distributed. Missing a molar tooth can mean the opposing tooth does not function optimally for biting forces but also can cause over-eruption of this tooth. As well as drifting and tilting. This can lead to more pressure on the other teeth and can cause more stress and strain over time.
In particular a lone standing molar tooth can be subject to more stress on biting and so can develop cracks and chips. This can lead to pain and sensitivity and potentially infection in the future, where you may need to call us for an emergency appointment.
Once a tooth is lost the immediate bone around the tooth also goes. This can make it more complex to place an implant in the future. An implant or bridge to replace a missing tooth although having a good success rate is never the same as an original tooth.
Overall there are cases where the loss of the tooth is inevitable. However, keeping a tooth is the best option and can be the most cost effective option in the long term. It is always best to discuss this with your dentist who can assess all the teeth and determine if the loss of a back tooth will adversely affect the overall oral health. Call today for consultation with our root canal dentist Sally McCarthy to get realistic success rates may be necessary. In order to determine the best long term solution and not just the short term resolution.