The root canal is a dental treatment that involves removal of the infected pulp or nerve. It is a procedure that works on the inner aspects of a tooth, unlike other dental procedures. In this procedure, the injury or infection of the nerve inside the tooth or the tooth pulp is cleaned out. The procedure is known to be a very painful procedure, however, in order to avoid the discomfort, pain, and cost, you may opt for other alternatives for this dental procedure. The alternatives that you may choose depends on the severity of the injury or infection.
In case of a minor tooth infection, antibiotic therapy might prove effective. In rest of the cases, antibiotics might be prescribed to postpone the root canal therapy. Apart from painkillers and anti-inflammatory medications, amoxicillin and keflex are the most commonly prescribed antibiotics.
Pulp capping means placing medicated filling over the exposed pulp. While performing the root canal (grinding) and trying to clear the decay, your dentist might find the nerve at a spot and cause it to bleed a bit. This is known as “nerve exposure”. In this case, if the exposure appears healthy, then further grinding won’t be done, and your dentist might opt for a pulp cap. In the pulp cap procedure, the area is thoroughly sterilized, the bleeding is stopped, and an appropriate filling is placed over it. This option can also be used when there is a fractured crown or cracks in baby’s teeth.
A dead tooth, has only two alternatives, root canal or tooth extraction. In case of facial and dental trauma tooth extraction is the best option. Most of the time, this procedure is opted by people to avoid expenses. Though, tooth restoration using a root canal treatment is always a good option, extraction might be needed because of extensive damage to the tooth or lack of required tooth structure to support tooth restoration. Usually, partial dentures, dental implant, or dental bridge are used to replace the extracted tooth. Once a tooth is extracted, the teeth on its either side are ground down and a crown is made together for these two, along with one in the middle to fill up the empty space left. In case of dental implants, once the area heals, a fake tooth is attached to a dental screw placed into the bone at the place of the extracted tooth.
So, the aforementioned alternatives, medication or pulp capping might be considered by your doctor, in case the damage is not severe. In case of a necessary root canal treatment, extraction is the only alternative left. Remember that tooth extraction can be an expensive alternative because of the further procedures such as dental bridge or implants that you would need. Therefore, maintaining oral hygiene is the best way to have a good dental health, and hence avoid any such dental treatments.