When a dentist suggests a root canal treatment for an infected tooth, most of the people will ask for an alternative to root canal treatment. Even though RCT is the best choice, there are some alternatives for root canal treatment.
What is root canal treatment?
When Dental caries extends to the wider portion of the tooth that is the pulp, It results in the initiation of toothache due to infectious stimuli being circulating in the bloodstream present in the pulp. Root canal treatment is a sequence of procedures for removing the infected pulp from the tooth resulting in the elimination of infection and thereby protection of the tooth from future microbial invasion. It involves the removal of the carious portion, disinfection followed by cleaning and shaping of pulpal canal, and three-dimensional filling of the root canals. RCT patients will not experience pain anymore.
Why patients hesitate to take root canal treatment?
Mostly patients fear that root canal therapy causes pain. Although we should understand that root canal doesn’t cause pain, but pain is the result of infection present inside the tooth. Root canal certainly aims at elimination of the factors causing pain
Disadvantages of RCT
- Chances of failure of root canal treatment
- Need for Crown maintenance
What are the alternatives to root canal?
Here are some of them.
- Pulp capping / pulpotomy
- Dental implant
Pulp capping/ pulpotomy
Root canal treatment involves the removal of the entire pulp from the tooth. Pulpotomy involves the removal of infectious coronal pulp leaving the radicular pulp intact until fresh bleeding is found.
It is then filled with the medicament that maintains the vitality of the pulp and promotes repair.
Pulpotomy – Indications
In the tooth with irreversible pulpitis
Traumatic exposure of pulp, or in a young permanent teeth.
This is a minimally invasive procedure. It is often preferable to do pulpotomy only if no root pathology is found.
It is the removal of the whole tooth along with the root. The easier alternative to a root canal is the extraction of the tooth, but it is always best to save the natural tooth whenever possible. But in comparison to root canal treatment extraction is a painful procedure.
Indications of extraction
- A heavily decayed tooth with less tooth structure Impacted tooth
- Tooth fracture below the gum line.
- Removal of the tooth for orthodontic treatment Tooth with resorbed roots
- Vertical fracture of the tooth
Bridge followed by extraction of tooth with the infection because replacement of the lost tooth is necessary to equally distribute the occlusal load, maintaining phonetics and moreover to prevent the loss of space. It is by reshaping the teeth on either side of the gaps and then replacing the missing tooth with support from the crown fixed over the reshaped adjacent tooth.
It is indeed a method of replacement of missing tooth without reshaping the adjacent tooth. But it can be given in areas where no heavy masticatory forces applies.
Dental implants as an alternative to root canal treatment.
How is dental implant done?
Dentists recommend implants to patients with severely damaged teeth. After extracting the tooth followed by replacing the missing tooth with an artificial tooth or implant. The titanium screw mimics the root portion of the natural tooth. Insertion of Implants surgically into the jaw bone after giving local anesthesia. After the implant merges with the bone, the next step is loading the crown portion onto the implant. It is a step-by-step process. In the first step insertion of the implant body into the jaw bone surgically, then it is ideal to wait for 3 to 6 months to heal and for osseointegration. The second part is loading the crown portion into the implant body.
However dental implants mimic the natural tooth, but it takes a longer time period to complete the procedure. Moreover, it is an invasive procedure as the implant is a surgical procedure.
The Bottom Line
There are so many alternatives to RCT, but there is no other treatment options that can save your natural tooth in its place.