Infected teeth are painful and dangerous. The discomfort from an infected tooth can be brutal. It can wake you up, keep you from falling back asleep, and disrupt all your daily activities. It may not respond to pain medication. The pain is a warning that you have a serious infection, one that can kill you if it’s left untreated. Bacteria from an infected tooth can spread to other parts of the body, including your brain, your blood, and your lungs.

Root canal therapy is an amazing procedure that can stop the infection, save your tooth, and give you back your beautiful smile. Although the procedure is in decline recently, there are still many reasons why it might be right for you. Sometimes, it’s even a better choice than getting dental implants.

young woman with tooth pain

Why Root Canal Therapy Became Common

There was a time when root canal therapy was very commonly done. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, sugar consumption was increasing, but dental care–especially preventive dental care–was lagging. People experienced levels of tooth decay not seen before or since.

At the time, the most common option for dealing with an infected tooth was pulling it out. Dental hucksters like Painless Parker were perfectly happy to do that for you, but some dentists weren’t thrilled with the idea of pulling all patients’ teeth.

After all, dentures at the time were poorly made. They didn’t fit well and were barely functional. Once a dentist started pulling your teeth, they might not stop, and then you would have a set of dentures that weren’t good for much, especially not chewing.

Root canal therapy let dentists save the infected tooth. By cleaning out the infected tooth pulp and replacing it with inert material, then crowning the tooth, dentists could maintain a full set of teeth that were usually healthy and didn’t become infected again.

The only drawback was that the procedure could be painful and dental anesthesia didn’t work very well. While getting teeth pulled wasn’t a picnic, it was at least over quickly, which is why root canal therapy got its bad reputation.

Root Canals in Decline

Today, root canal therapy is better than ever. Thanks to modern dental anesthesia, the procedure is known more for relieving pain than causing it. And new antibiotic treatments let us clean the tooth out more thoroughly. Plus, modern dental crowns are much more attractive than crowns of the past.

So why is root canal therapy in decline? Simple: dental implants. In the past, root canal therapy was your only alternative to dentures. This made them worth attempting in almost every case.

But these days, dental implants are another option we can consider if you have an infected tooth. That lets us be choosier about root canal therapy, only attempting it when it’s absolutely the best choice. If root canal therapy isn’t clearly the best option, we will often recommend implants instead.

So, as a result, root canal therapy is being performed less often than in the past. Does this mean that root canal therapy will eventually be gone forever? It’s possible, but saving your natural teeth still has some benefits over replacing them with dental implants. Until we reach the next generation of dental implants that are as good as natural teeth, there will always be a place for root canal therapy.

Is Root Canal Therapy Right for You in Rockland County?

Do you have an infected tooth and want to know whether a dental implant or root canal therapy is best for you? At B & D Dental Excellence in West Nyack, Rockland County dentist Dr. Mark Dunayer offers both procedures. He can give you an unbiased recommendation about which procedure will best serve your needs.

Please call (845) 627-7645 today for an appointment with Dr. Dunayer.