fbpx Skip to main content

Understandably, the words “root canal” and “tooth extraction” might sound daunting. But what your team at Nest Dental thinks will help is understanding what these two procedures are all about. Read on as we explain a root canal vs. an extraction, including their benefits, recovery times, costs, and what to expect during and after the procedure.

Root Canal vs. Extraction: Understanding the Basics

Root Canal Procedure
If Dr. Sahi has recommended a root canal procedure for you, it’s because we want to save your tooth, first cleaning it of infection or decay. Now, sometimes patients ask us, “Does a root canal hurt?” If you’re worried about pain, fear not! At Nest Dental, we’re all about comfortable, gentle care using modern techniques and dental technology paired with a soothing, spa-like ambience. And a root canal with us is no exception.

During the procedure, we first anesthetize the tooth and the surrounding area. If you opt for sedation dentistry, we’ll start with that and then administer the anesthetic. Once you’re comfortable, we drill a small hole in your tooth to access the pulp, then use tiny tools and a microscope to remove all the infected pulp from inside the tooth. We clean and disinfect the root canals and then fill and seal the space with a biocompatible material to prevent an infection from happening again.

After the root canal procedure, some patients may need a crown to restore their tooth’s strength and function fully.

Root Canal Recovery
And what about after the procedure? Are there special instructions for root canal recovery and aftercare? If you opted for sedation, make sure you have someone to drive you home from our office. Also, your anesthesia will wear off after about an hour and if your jaw or mouth still feels a bit tender, over-the-counter pain relief will help. Don’t chew or drink hot or cold liquids in the first few hours afterwards and take it easy — maybe take the rest of the day off work!

You can brush and floss as usual, but be gentle for the first few weeks. It’s also important during root canal recovery to avoid chewing on hard, crunchy foods with the tooth or biting down heavily with the tooth until Dr. Sahi gives you the okay. Once you’re fully healed (and you have a crown if it was needed), your tooth will function just like your natural teeth.

Tooth Extraction
Now that we’ve described a root canal procedure, it makes sense if you’re wondering what the difference is between a root canal vs. a tooth extraction. The biggest difference is that a tooth extraction involves removing a tooth entirely from its socket.

Does an extraction hurt? Like with root canals, your East Vancouver dentist prioritizes comfort. You’ll receive sedation if you choose and a local anesthetic to numb the area. While you may feel some pressure during the extraction, you won’t feel any pain.

So when is a tooth extraction necessary? At Nest Dental, we always prefer saving a tooth whenever possible but may suggest a tooth extraction when a tooth is too damaged to be saved. Specifically, these situations include:

  • Abscesses or severe infection
  • Severe damage or broken teeth
  • Problematic wisdom teeth

Dental professionals might also recommend tooth extractions to help resolve severe crowding or in preparation for orthodontic treatment.

For tooth extractions, Dr. Sahi performs a technique called “atraumatic tooth extraction” which means she lifts the tooth out vertically instead of rocking it back and forth in a conventional tooth extraction procedure. This causes less damage to the surrounding tissue and bone, with the goal of less bleeding and pain during tooth extraction recovery.

Tooth Extraction Recovery

Right after the tooth extraction, Dr. Sahi will give you sterile gauze to bite down on to absorb any bleeding for about 10-20 minutes. The bleeding should taper off, though you may have light bleeding for the first 24 hours during your tooth extraction recovery. You’ll likely feel discomfort once the anesthetic wears off, and the surrounding teeth might temporarily hurt. You might notice some swelling, too, so take a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen.

Dr. Sahi might also prescribe antibiotics to prevent infection as you heal. Hold ice packs against your face, and stick with soft foods like pasta, eggs, and applesauce for the first few days. You’ll also want to avoid drinking with a straw, which can dislodge blood clots (which you want for protecting the now-exposed underlying bone and nerves). When blood clots can’t form, it’s called “dry socket”, a persistent pain in the tooth socket that will eventually heal on its own. However, it’s always good to check in with the dentist if your pain is severe or lasts a really long time.

When Can You Return to Normal Activities After A Tooth Extraction?

Total tooth extraction recovery is pretty quick, and you can typically return to work or school after a day or two. But it’s best to avoid any heavy lifting or going to the gym for the first 2-3 days after your tooth extraction. An elevated heart rate can increase post-tooth extraction bleeding and discomfort.

Benefits of Saving a Tooth with a Root Canal

So why would your dentist suggest a root canal vs. a tooth extraction? If your tooth is savable, the benefits of a root canal vs. a tooth extraction include:

  • Preservation of your natural tooth: Keeping your natural tooth helps maintain the natural alignment of your teeth and jaw.
  • Better chewing efficiency: A natural tooth may function more naturally than a fully artificial replacement.
  • Aesthetics: Retaining your tooth helps preserve your natural smile.

What Does a Root Canal or Tooth Extraction Cost?

Your root canal or tooth extraction cost is based on a few things. For root canals, health insurance providers typically cover about 80% of your procedure. And if you qualify, the new Canadian Dental Care Plan launching June 27 fully covers root canals.

Tooth extractions are a slightly different story. They’re not often covered by health insurance, and the Canadian Dental Care Plan also doesn’t, so you’ll likely have to pay out-of-pocket. If you need a hand figuring it all out, our helpful Nest Dental team is happy to look at your coverage and find out.

If you need a manageable payment plan, ask us about our flexible financing options, including in-office, no-interest financing.

A Comfy Root Canal or Tooth Extraction with Your Fraser Street Dentist

Consider Nest Dental for your root canal procedure or tooth extraction. Schedule an appointment with your friendly, neighbourhood Vancouver dental team. As a boutique Vancouver dentist, we’re here with elevated, personalized expertise to help you maintain a healthy smile!

Sonia Sahi

Author Sonia Sahi

More posts by Sonia Sahi