Family, Restorative, and Cosmetic Dentistry
Blake H. Weber, D.D.S.
7924 Cantrell Rd
Little Rock, AR 72227-2501
(501) 225-0113
[email protected]


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Root Canal Therapy vs. Dental Implants: The Basics

Root Canal Therapy, Little Rock ARThere are two primary options for dealing with a tooth that has been compromised. Your dentist can extract the tooth and install a dental implant or attempt to save the tooth with root canal therapy. Both options have advantages, including comparable success rates. Your dentist, Dr. Blake Weber in Little Rock, AR, can help you determine which option is right for you.

Root Canal Therapy

What are root canals?

Root canals are tiny passageways that branch off from beneath the top of the tooth, coursing their way vertically downward, until they reach the tip of the root. All teeth have between one and four root canals.

When is root canal therapy necessary?

For Little Rock patients, many tooth problems involve infections that spread to the pulp, which is the inner chamber of the tooth containing blood vessels, nerves and other tissues. When the infection becomes worse, it can begin affecting the roots. A traumatic injury to a tooth can also compromise the pulp, leading to similar problems.

A diseased inner tooth brings a host of problems; pain and sensitivity are some of the first indications of a problem; but inside, a spreading infection can cause small pockets of pus to develop, leading to an abscess.

What is root canal therapy?

Root canal therapy is a remarkable treatment with a very high rate of success, and involves removing the diseased tissue, halting the spread of infection and restoring the healthy portion of the tooth. In fact, root canal therapy is designed to save a problem tooth; before the procedure was developed and gained acceptance, the only alternative for treating a diseased tooth was extraction.

Root Canal Therapy: Procedure

The procedure for a root canal is somewhat similar to that for filling a cavity. During a root canal, the affected pulp is removed. The tooth interior is thoroughly cleaned, then filled and sealed. A filling or crown is added to the tooth to protect against further deterioration. Following a successful root canal, patients will experience a normally functioning tooth again.

Root canal therapy usually entails one to three visits. During the first visit, a small hole is drilled through the top of the tooth and into the inner chamber. Diseased tissue is removed, the inner chamber cleansed and disinfected, and the tiny canals reshaped. The cleansed chamber and canals are filled with an elastic material and medication designed to prevent infection. If necessary, the drilled hole is temporarily filled until a permanent seal is made with a crown. Most patients who have root canal experience little or no discomfort or pain, and enjoy a restored tooth that can last almost as long as its healthy original.

According to the American Association of Endodontists, there are several advantages to undergoing root canal therapy. These include protecting surrounding teeth against strain or excessive wear, maintaining a natural appearance, improved chewing efficiency and a return to being able to bite into foods with normal force. Before a root canal, a damaged tooth can inhibit an infected tooth’s ability to function normally.

Dental Implants

When the decision is made to extract a tooth, it is often desirable to replace it rather than leave an empty gap in the patient's mouth. In the past, a bridge or dentures were the only option for replacing missing teeth. Today, dental implants are a popular choice because they are permanently affixed and cannot be removed like dentures and bridges so there is no risk of them slipping out of place.

Before a dental implant can be installed, the damaged tooth must be pulled out. To install the implant, your Little Rock dentist will attach it directly to your jaw. It is left in place to fuse with your jawbone for several months. Once the implant has fused with bone, a replacement tooth can be attached to it. The implant will act as an anchor for the new tooth, which will look and feel like an original tooth.

Root canals and dental implants are both good options for correcting tooth decay and restoring normal functioning. Your dentist, Dr. Weber in Little Rock, AR, can discuss the specifics of each method so that you can choose which one is right for you.

If your tooth is compromised, extraction and dental implants aren't always the answer. Save your tooth with root canal therapy from Little Rock dentist Blake H. Weber, DDS instead! Call today at (501) 225-0113 to learn more!