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Understanding Root Canal Therapy: What You Need to Know

Root canal therapy is a dental procedure that elicits mixed feelings from patients, often due to misconceptions about its purpose and process. However, understanding what a root canal is and when it's necessary can demystify the procedure and highlight its benefits over alternatives like tooth extraction. In this article, we'll explore the ins and outs of root canal therapy, its advantages and disadvantages, and how Dr. Sanders approaches this treatment.

What is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a dental procedure designed to remove infected or damaged tissue from the inside of a tooth. This inner part of the tooth, called the pulp, contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue, which can become infected due to decay, cracks, or trauma. The goal of root canal therapy is to save the tooth by removing the infected pulp, cleaning and disinfecting the inside of the tooth, and then filling and sealing it to prevent future infection.

Why People Get Root Canals

The primary reason for undergoing root canal therapy is to treat a tooth that has become infected or is severely decayed. Symptoms of a tooth requiring a root canal may include severe pain, sensitivity to hot or cold, swelling and tenderness in the gums, and discoloration of the tooth. If left untreated, the infection can spread, leading to abscesses and even systemic health issues.

Pros and Cons of Getting a Root Canal vs. Tooth Extraction

Pros of Root Canal Therapy:

  • Tooth Preservation: Root canals allow for the saving of the natural tooth, maintaining your natural bite and jaw alignment.

  • Aesthetics: Saving the natural tooth avoids the need for more noticeable dental work like bridges or implants.

  • Functionality: A tooth treated with root canal therapy can function like any other tooth once it has been properly restored.

Cons of Root Canal Therapy:

  • Complexity: Root canals can be more complex and time-consuming than extractions, particularly for molars.

  • Cost: While cost-effective in the long run, the upfront cost of a root canal and subsequent restoration can be higher than an extraction.

Pros of Tooth Extraction:

  • Simplicity: Extractions are generally straightforward procedures.

  • Cost: The initial cost of an extraction can be lower than a root canal.

Cons of Tooth Extraction:

  • Additional Procedures: Replacing an extracted tooth with an implant or bridge is often more expensive and invasive.

  • Jawbone Loss: Extracting a tooth can lead to loss of bone density in the jaw over time.

Dr. Sanders's Approach to Root Canal Therapy

Dr. Sanders is skilled in performing root canal therapies, particularly for front teeth, where the procedure tends to be less complicated. For more complex cases, especially those involving back teeth like molars, Dr. Sanders may refer patients to trusted specialists. This collaborative approach ensures that patients receive the best possible care tailored to the specific challenges of their case.

Complicated root canals, such as those involving molars with multiple roots, can present challenges like navigating curved root canals or dealing with significant decay or damage. These situations may require the expertise of an endodontist, a specialist in treating the interior of the tooth.

Medical Support and Citations

The American Association of Endodontists (AAE) provides extensive information supporting the effectiveness and safety of root canal therapy. Research and clinical guidelines recommend root canal treatment as a primary method for saving teeth that would otherwise need to be extracted (AAE, 2020).


Root canal therapy is a valuable procedure for saving a tooth that might otherwise need to be removed. Understanding the benefits and potential drawbacks of root canals versus extractions can help patients make informed decisions about their dental care. With Dr. Sanders's expertise and her network of specialized colleagues, patients can rest assured that they will receive the most appropriate and high-quality treatment for their dental needs.



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