How do I know whether I am suitable for root canal treatment?
I've been told by a dentist that I have 2 options: to extract my tooth, or to undergo root canal treatment. I was told that the root canal treatment also has a chance of failing. I am uncertain which is the better option for me.
The most important step in deciding whether root canal treatment (RCT) is appropriate is ensuring there is sufficient tooth structure remaining for the tooth to be strong enough to withstand chewing.
Some patients present with a tooth that is already extremely fragile, cracked/split or severely fractured, making the tooth very likely to break after the RCT is completed.
This is assessed by looking at the tooth, xrays and sometimes the tooth needs to have all previous dental materials (old fillings, crowns etc) and decay removed before a decision can be made.
RCT is successful (clearance of pain and symptoms) in 80-90% of cases, where the root of the tooth is not abscessed or infected.
If there is a long-standing infection at the root tip, RCT is only successful 70-80% of the time.
Root canal treatment has been proven to have a very high success rate.
Sometimes, it is the only way to save the tooth if the nerve is affected. It is always more natural and comfortable to bite and chew with your own tooth, which is why it's a popular treatment. This is compared to extracting and replacing it with other options, such as bridges, implants or dentures.
Having said that, as Dr Jaclyn has mentioned, a lot of times root canal treatment may fail due to non-favourable tooth condition, such as:
- Severe crack or fracture
- Tooth that has been extensively damaged by decay
Your dentist will be able to discuss with you on the viability of root canal treatment after doing a thorough investigation. This includes taking an xray of your tooth.
When it comes to...