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If you’re dealing with a severe tooth infection, you will need treatment in order to keep it from progressing. There are a few different treatment options that your dentist might recommend. Two of these are root canals and dental implants. The right treatment for you will depend on your individual needs. At Mill Dam Dental Care, we offer both root canals and dental implants in our Virginia Beach office. Here’s what you need to know so you can choose between having a dental implant or root canal for a severely damaged tooth.

What is a Root Canal?

During a root canal, your dentist will remove infected or inflamed soft tissue from the root canal under your tooth, which is where the procedure gets its name. Root canals are very common and they are often the most effective way to save a tooth that has already been infected. During a root canal, your dentist will use a set of very precise tools to create an opening at the top of the tooth.

From there, they will remove the infected tissue in your root canal and replace it with a material called gutta-percha. This material has a rubbery consistency and is safe for dental use. To finish the procedure, the dentist will add a filling to seal the opening on the top of your tooth. In some cases, you may need to return for a second appointment to get a more permanent crown.

Your dentist will use local anesthesia during your root canal procedure, which helps to minimize pain and discomfort. Mill Dam Dental specializes in sedation dentistry, so we can also provide more comprehensive sedation solutions for patients who need them.

What is a Dental Implant?

There are some cases where a tooth infection progresses too far and a root canal is no longer feasible. In this case, a dental implant is going to be the best way to keep your mouth healthy and maintain your smile.

Before you receive a dental implant, your dentist will first need to remove the old tooth with an extraction. Most extractions can be conducted just by pulling the tooth with a forceps, but some extractions may also require a surgical procedure, especially if the tooth is impacted in some way.

Once the original tooth has been removed, your dentist will then put an implant into your gums. An implant is a small, screw-like device that a tooth replacement crown sits on top of. This process can happen over several months, depending on how quickly your mouth heals from the initial extraction.

As with a root canal, dental extractions and implants are done using local anesthesia. However, Mill Dam Dental offers a wider variety of sedation options to make the procedure more comfortable.

dental implants

Pros and Cons of a Root Canal

At Mill Dam Dental, we prefer to conduct a root canal rather than extracting the tooth whenever possible. This is because a root canal allows the patient to keep their original tooth. The root canal process is far less invasive than getting a dental implant, and the recovery time is much shorter as well. While you may experience some swelling and discomfort in the hours following a root canal, most patients are able to resume their normal daily activities directly after the procedure.

Root canals are also more affordable than getting a dental implant in most cases. This is true regardless of whether you have dental insurance or not. If you are struggling to pay for dental care, be sure to talk to your dentist about options. They may be able to offer a payment plan or another solution.

If you are struggling with a tooth infection, a root canal is always going to be preferable to getting a dental implant. However, there are some situations where a root canal is no longer an option. When an infection is very severe, the tooth may not be salvageable, and the only option will be to remove it and replace it with an implant.

Pros and Cons of Dental Implants

If your tooth is so severely infected that it needs to be extracted, dental implants are the best way to stabilize your mouth. There are some situations in which a root canal would actually weaken the tooth. In this case, it’s better to put in a dental implant sooner, rather than performing a root canal only to have to remove the tooth a few years later.

Modern dental implants are very advanced. We use 3D software to create a dental implant that looks and feels like a natural tooth. This helps keep the structure of your mouth intact, and helps keep your smile looking great as well. Although the process is invasive, there are many instances where it is necessary for your overall dental health.

Which Solution is Right for You?

In most cases, a root canal is going to be the better option if your tooth is infected. A root canal helps to save your natural tooth and is much less invasive. Root canals can also be necessary to repair a deep cavity or a cracked tooth. However, certain types of impacted or damaged teeth cannot be fixed with a root canal and will require an extraction and implant to replace.

If you are experiencing severe pain, sensitivity, swelling, or tenderness in your gums or teeth, be sure to make an appointment as soon as possible. These are all signs that you may need a root canal or other form of dental care. These conditions can progress very quickly, and the longer you put off going to the dentist, the harder it can be to treat your tooth later on.

Mill Dam Dental Care offers root canals, dental implants, and other dental services in Virginia Beach, VA. We will help determine whether a dental implant or root canal are right for you, and we prioritize patient comfort. Contact us today to learn more!