Are there Alternatives to Root Canals?

Root canals are often suggested by dentists as the only alternative to removing the entire tooth when it becomes infected and damaged beyond normal repair. However, there are certain disadvantages to going for a root canal as well. This is not to say that it’s not effective because it is truly the best option in certain situations. Nevertheless, as a patient, one might wonder if there is any other alternative to the process. As it turns out, there are a few, and while they cannot substitute a root canal in all circumstances, having a few choices is always better than having none at all.

Tooth Extraction

It’s cheaper, easier and less taxing on the body in the short term, but tooth extraction can only be considered a viable alternative to a root canal if the patient agrees to seal the gap adequately with a dental implant and prosthesis. If you decide not to return to the clinic to replace the missing natural tooth, the teeth next to the gap will begin to tilt and may need to be removed after a while as well. When a tooth is extracted and not replaced properly, the internal balance is disturbed, leading to further problems. Also, most dentists around the world agree that a root canal is the better option of the two, if the damaged tooth is still in a position to be saved.

What about Natural Healing?

There are alternative theories out there which suggest avoiding processed sugar and grains in general to improve the condition of an infected tooth. Natural and unprocessed meat protein, dairy products, honey, cayenne pepper, etc. are also included in varying proportions to the diet of the patient to expedite the healing process. However, there is no scientific proof in practical theory or medical practice to suggest that such methods can help when filling a cavity or repairing a chipped tooth in any way. Nevertheless, they can be treated as preventive measures to keep dental problems at bay.

Calcium Hydroxide Irrigation

A specialized needle or file is used to place calcium hydroxide inside the canal of the afflicted tooth. The process is known as irrigation and due to the alkaline nature of calcium hydroxide, this not only kills all bacteria there, but also dissolves all the dead tissue in the canal and prevents further bacterial infections in the area. It might be quite a viable option if the tooth hasn’t been damaged beyond a certain point. The only issue with calcium hydroxide is the fact that it is toxic and needs a lot of care to be used safely.

Ozone Irrigation

Similar to the previous procedure, the dentist drills into the tooth and irrigates the hole with ozone gas. The ozone then makes its way onto the tubules and kills all bacteria inside. While this isn’t necessarily a permanent solution, since the bacteria can always come back after a while, it is something that can help you to avoid a root canal, at least temporarily.

While all of the above procedures (except natural remedies of course) will be available at your local dentist Barrie, including a proper root canal, the dentist’s recommendation will most likely be based on how far the damage to the teeth has progressed. Besides, root canals are not as bad as many people make them out to be. Modern medicine, innovations and equipment have turned a root canal into a much faster, painless process than before.

Photo by Chasqui (Luis Tamayo)