4 Awesome Alternatives to a Root Canal

woman complaining about a root canal procedure to dentist

When most people hear the words “root canal,” the first thing they think of is “pain.” But there are a few cheaper, sometimes painless, alternatives to a traditional root canal. 

Before you select an alternative procedure, be sure to ask your dentist whether it’s right for you. 

Bear in mind that the discomfort you feel during a root canal procedure can be similar to that of a large cavity filling. 

Northside Dental Clinic in Springfield, Missouri, gives four alternatives to root canals. 

What’s a Root Canal? 

A root canal is an invasive procedure used to repair a damaged tooth without removing it. This is an endodontic treatment. 

“Endodontics” is an area of dentistry that focuses on dental pulp and tissues around the root of a tooth. 

If a tooth becomes severely damaged or decayed, the pulp inside becomes inflamed. This happens if you have a broken or cracked tooth, a deep cavity, or a history of numerous procedures on a tooth. 

If minor cavities get treated immediately, they don’t run the risk of infecting the tooth to its root, forcing the need for a root canal or tooth extraction. 

Alternatives to a Root Canal

1. Pulpotomy 

Pulpotomy is not the same as removing pulp in a root canal (pulpectomy). Pulpotomy is performed on a tooth with bloodflow and nerve sensitivity. Pulpectomy is performed on a tooth that is dead. 

In short, it’s a dental procedure in which the pulp (nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissues) in the main part of the tooth (the crown) is removed, but the roots are left in.  

It’s far less invasive and less painful. It’s not a long-lasting procedure for adults. And it’s primarily used for children dealing with severe tooth decay to a baby tooth. 

2. Direct Pulp Capping 

Used to treat severe damage or decay on a tooth that exposes the pulp, this is the number one recommended alternative to root canal procedures by most doctors. 

This procedure is applied when the pulp exposure is minimal, and there is little to no decay or inflammation. 

A material is placed over the exposed pulp to help protect it (securing the dentin) while performing a filing on the tooth.

This material is made of calcium hydroxide or mineral trioxide aggregate (MTA). 

3. Tooth Extraction 

Tooth extraction means removing the entire tooth. If there’s severe tooth decay or damage, extraction is recommended over a root canal. 

Most restored teeth last up to 10 years — longer than that if you practice good oral hygiene. In some cases, the tooth restoration won’t last, so you’ll be better off getting a tooth extraction. 

After tooth extraction occurs, the are several options for replacement: 

  • Dental Implants: Serving as the root of missing teeth 
  • Removal Partial Denture: Some replacement teeth 
  • Dental Bridge: Bridges the gap between missing teeth

There are several types of dentures available after having removed a tooth. 

4. Calcium Hydroxide 

This method treats the root cavity with ozone gas. The root canal is watered with calcium hydroxide to kill microbes and eliminate infected tissues inside tooth canals. 

These gasses inhibit microbial growth in the canals. It’s almost never prescribed by doctors due to the toxic gas mixtures. 

Get Professional Dental Care in Springfield, Missouri 

Our dentists and hygienists have excellent bedside manner and work to make your visit as comfortable as possible. Take a look at our dental extraction services. If you’re interested in scheduling an appointment, contact Northside Dental today!