Root canal treatment is a highly effective way to save a diseased tooth. The procedure involves removing the infected pulp from the canals that run inside of tooth roots, and then cleaning, filling, and sealing the canals in order to prevent further infection or damage. The entire treatment may take one or more appointments depending on the location of the tooth in the mouth and the complexity of the condition.1
Once treatment has been completed, the tooth will need to be restored with a filling or crown in order to return it to full function and aesthetics. Recovery time can vary, but typically, any sort of mild discomfort will be resolved within a few days.
Aside from easing pain and discomfort, you may wonder what the benefits of a root canal treatment are. They follow:
What are the benefits of root canal treatment?
A root canal procedure offers long-term benefits that can greatly improve a person’s oral health and overall quality of life. If a diseased tooth is ignored for too long, it may reach the point where it cannot be saved, making tooth extraction necessary. With root canal treatment though, you can save your natural tooth and be free of pain and infection. While the immediate cost of extraction may be less than the root canal, you will likely spend less money in the long term.
Most people agree that saving a natural tooth is preferred to getting an extraction. A tooth extraction usually leaves a gap in your mouth that may affect your appearance, chewing, and even the ability to speak. If you wish to fill in the gap, it will require an implant or bridge which typically comes with a hefty price tag. In the long term, there is usually less maintenance with a restored natural tooth than with an implant or bridge.
Here are some other advantages of root canal treatment:
Virtually pain-free procedure
Despite the misconceptions surrounding it, modern root canal treatment involves very little pain and discomfort in comparison to tooth extraction. In fact, patients who undergo root canal treatment are 6 times more likely to describe the experience as painless when compared to patients who had their tooth extracted.2
Endodontists and dentists utilize modern techniques and effective anesthesia to minimize pain and discomfort during and after a root canal. Endodontists, however, are dental specialists with 2 to 3 years of advanced training in root canal treatment and pain management.
Stops the spread of infection
With root canal treatment, the bacteria that caused the infection is removed. This prevents the infection from spreading to other areas of the mouth like the jawbone, soft tissues, and facial spaces. Once the infected pulp is removed, the root canal is cleaned and disinfected, stopping the spread of tooth decay right in its tracks.
More efficient chewing
Tooth abscess can cause pain and swelling that makes chewing uncomfortable. However, with root canal treatment, a filling or crown is placed on the tooth and one can expect improved and more comfortable, biting, chewing, and smiling.
Visually appealing results
After root canal treatment has been completed, a dentist will restore your tooth with a filling or crown which will give your smile a natural and aesthetically-pleasing appearance.2
Cost-effective and efficient
While tooth extraction may seem like the quickest and cheapest option in the short term, it’s important to be aware that long-term results can be costly due to the need for ongoing dental work including dentures, implants, or bridges.
Root canal treatment is not as costly as some presume, and many dental insurance plans will cover a portion of the costs. The choice you make between a root canal procedure or extraction is ultimately a personal one, and there are a lot of factors to consider with this decision. We recommend that you consult with your dentist who can help you decide the best option for your specific condition.
Enhances overall health
An infected tooth that isn’t treated properly not only leads to greater oral health problems, but it can also cause serious health complications. This can include bone infections and the possibility of abscess spreading into the sinuses or soft tissues of the neck and head.
However, with root canal treatment, an endodontist is able to eliminate this risk and prevent the bacteria from spreading. This improves your quality of life by allowing you to preserve normal biting, chewing, and speaking function.3
Although extracting an infected tooth and placing an implant has become a common alternative to root canal treatment, maintaining a natural tooth is usually the preferred choice. There are a variety of general health, anatomy, and other factors to consider when making your decision, so be sure to consult with your endodontist or dentist to make an informed one.
When it comes to root canal treatment, there can be some hesitation. There is a lot of misunderstanding surrounding the costs, benefits, and the level of discomfort involved. However, endodontists and dentists will agree that receiving endodontic treatment is the most common and preferred option for saving a tooth.
Do you think you may need a root canal? The best way to find out is through an evaluation by your dentist or endodontist who will recommend the best treatment plan for you.
Looking for more information? Brush up on root canal basics
Think you may need a root canal? Protect Your Smile. Find a dentist.
1Root Canal Treatment. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.aae.org/patients/root-canal-treatment/.
2Benefits of Root Canal Treatment. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.aae.org/patients/root-canal-treatment/what-is-a-root-canal/benefits-root-canal-treatment/.
3Tan H, Peres KG, Peres MA.J Dent Res. 2016 Nov;95(12):1350-1357 Retention of Teeth and Oral Health-Related Quality of Life.