In the past, an infected or damaged tooth would have been pulled. Today, these teeth can often be saved with root canal treatment. When you compare costs over time, a root canal’s cost will be lower than extraction because it doesn’t require the follow up of replacement procedures.
Comparing Endodontic Treatment with Tooth Extraction
Many of our patients want to know why endodontic treatment is recommended rather than extraction. The simple answer to this question is that root canal treatment offers better health benefits in the long run, which drives down the overall cost of your dental care. While the sticker price on a root canal procedure may seem higher at first glance, extracting the tooth has hidden costs. To better understand, it’s helpful to learn what endodontic treatment is, and why it’s a more desirable alternative to extraction.
Why Endodontic Treatment?
The need for an endodontic dental procedure can arise from a trauma to the tooth or dental decay that has penetrated to the tooth root. Either of these causes are damaging to the tooth pulp (the inner chamber of the tooth comprised of blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue). When the tooth has reached maturity, it can survive without the pulp because of its access to surrounding live tissues.
Endodontic treatment effectively “saves” the tooth by removing the diseased or damaged pulp. After, a crown is placed on the tooth to protect it from further damage.
Six major steps are involved in saving the damaged tooth:
- Diagnosis: A dentist or endodontist examines the tooth and orders X-rays to confirm infection or damaged pulp.
- Anesthesia: A local anesthetic is administered to numb the tooth.
- Preparation: The tooth is isolated using a small protective sheet, which keeps it clean during the procedure.
- Cleaning: After a tiny opening is made in the tooth crown, the dentist cleans the infected pulp from the inner chamber using tiny instruments.
- Sealing: Once the affected tooth has been cleaned and shaped, the root canal will be sealed with a biocompatible material.
- Filling: A temporary filling is placed over the opening, to be followed by a permanent crown at your follow-up appointment.
Once a root canal treatment is completed, you don’t have to do anything else. The only exception to this rule is if the tooth becomes re-infected. If this happens, retreatment would be required. In either case, the procedure is aimed at allowing you to keep your tooth for a lifetime.
A Convenient, Healthy Choice
Because of modern techniques and anesthesia, root canal treatment is virtually painless. Many people erroneously believe that a root canal will be painful because of its association with pulp damage or infection. But make no mistake: the infection is the real source of your pain. In fact, when compared to extraction, root canal treatment is the more comfortable option!
The American Association of Endodontists reports that patients who chose a root canal procedure are six times more likely to say it’s painless than a patient who opts for an extraction.
Root canal treatment also has a high success rate. Numerous dental studies have demonstrated the efficacy of this procedure. A root canal will almost always be recommended due to its establishment as the safest, most effective, and long-term method for treating a diseased tooth.
The Hidden Cost of Extraction
Extraction may appear to be the better deal at face value, but removing the tooth almost always implies further procedures. Sometimes, tooth removal is inevitable because endodontic treatment is no longer viable. The best thing to do after a tooth extraction is to replace it with a dental implant. By filling the empty space left by the tooth, you will avoid the problems of jawbone loss and teeth shifting, as well as functional challenges.
Choosing extraction when you still have the option of receiving root canal treatment, is more costly in the long run. Extraction also has a more harmful impact on your oral health. Gaps in the teeth can make your mouth more susceptible to tooth decay and lead to jaw bone loss over time. Moreover, the costs of replacing your missing tooth are higher than saving that same tooth through root canal treatment.
Low-Cost Endodontic Treatment at Penn Dental Medicine
Whether your tooth hurts because of dental decay or pulp damage, it’s important to seek adequate dental treatment as soon as possible. An untreated tooth will only become more painful and difficult to treat, decreasing your likelihood of being able to save the tooth through endodontic treatment.
If you’re worried about root canal costs, then you will find no better deal than at Penn Dental Medicine. We provide dental care at affordable prices at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, where you will be treated by student dentists in the final stage of their training.
All procedures are overseen by experienced dental professionals at the forefront of their field. Whether you are on a dental plan, dental insurance, or pay out of pocket, you’ll benefit from the reduced costs of root canal treatment at PDM.
To schedule your free root canal consultation with a student dentist at PDM, please call us at 215-898-8965 today.