Root canals are one of the most common dental procedures performed today, with more than 15 million occurring each year in the United States alone. However, they’re also one of the most painful, expensive, and potentially dangerous procedures in the entire field of dentistry. If you need a root canal but don’t want to undergo such an invasive treatment, consider these root canal alternative options instead.
How many root canals are performed every year?
Root canals are performed over 16 million times every year. If that sounds like a lot, it’s because it is. The good news is that they don’t have to be as scary as you think! teeth-straightening, laser gum disease treatment, oral surgery, and sedation dentistry. Each method has its own set of advantages and disadvantages; what works for one person might not work for another. But if you use one or more of these techniques together, you may never need a root canal alternative in your life!
The symptoms of an infected tooth
swelling and redness, pain when chewing, pus, or mucus in your mouth. If you notice any of these symptoms, don’t ignore them—you could have an infected tooth. It’s especially important to treat an infection early on because it can spread quickly. If you need serious dental work done on one tooth (like a root canal), it might be worth asking if there’s anything you can do short of that procedure; another option is getting a temporary crown until your next visit with your dentist so that you can put off doing more extensive work for now. Most dentists will offer some sort of solution when they see how much pain and discomfort you’re in; if not, consider seeking treatment from another dentist.
Antibiotics or other treatments for infection
Root canals are sometimes used as a last resort for tooth infections, which can have symptoms like swelling, pain, and redness. Since you probably don’t want to lose your tooth, there are several things you can try before turning to surgery: antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, and rinsing with saltwater. If these measures don’t improve your symptoms in 48 hours or less, call your dentist—you might need an emergency root canal. Root canal recovery generally involves avoiding hot or cold food and drinks for two weeks or more; over-the-counter pain medication will likely be prescribed for about two weeks after treatment.
Extraction as root canal alternative
If you have an inflamed or infected tooth, it’s usually necessary to either remove all or some of that tooth. But if that sounds too extreme for you, here are some things you can try first: First and foremost, see your dentist—the longer you wait, he/she will likely have to use more aggressive techniques and tools. Depending on your situation, dentists might be able to repair damage (such as chipped teeth) without taking out any parts of your tooth.
Treatment options at home
While it may be tempting to choose at-home treatments, most oral health professionals advise patients against trying these unless they have no other options. Dentists recommend that you should never try unproven home remedies, as they can put your teeth at risk and lead to more serious problems in the future. However, if you’re set on doing something at home—for example, gargling salt water every day—make sure that it is done in conjunction with professional dental treatment and is monitored by a dentist. This way, any damage can be undone when necessary, while leaving you with peace of mind that your mouth remains healthy.
Home remedies for dental pain
A toothache can be one of life’s most maddening pains. In many cases, it’s also one of life’s most preventable pains. Dental health is largely about taking care of your teeth on a daily basis by paying attention to what you eat and drink. By opting for an apple over ice cream or water instead of soda, you can help avoid some common cavity-causing culprits. Drinking plenty of water—about 10 glasses each day—is also key for keeping your mouth free from bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease. When all else fails, check out these four home remedies for dental pain relief, as well as tips on how you can take better care of your teeth in general.
Painkillers as root canal alternative
If you’re in too much pain to make it into your dentist’s office, consider taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID) such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Nonsteroidal drugs have few adverse effects, but always follow dosage instructions on your prescription label. Over-the-counter versions should never be combined with prescription medications. If you choose acetaminophen for temporary relief, take no more than four tablets every six hours; if you are using ibuprofen, don’t exceed three doses of 200 milligrams per day and no more than one dose at any given time.
Risks and alternatives (summary)
If you need a tooth extracted, have your dentist yank it. While there are less-invasive ways to treat certain dental issues (like removing impacted wisdom teeth), having your dentist perform an extraction is still more desirable than removing a tooth with tools that haven’t been sterilized. Your mouth can be vulnerable after an operation, so ask for pain medication and consider following up with antibiotics if recommended by your dentist. It’s also important that you keep your mouth clean after surgery so you don’t risk infection. You may feel nauseous or vomit immediately after the procedure, so be sure to let your dentist know if those symptoms arise during or after treatment.