Root Canal or Tooth Extraction?


A root canal becomes necessary when the pulp chamber of a tooth is infected. Signs that you may need a root canal include:

  1. Pain when biting and chewing
  2. Increased sensitivity to hot and cold
  3. Dull, radiating pain in the jaw and neck
  4. A darkening of tooth enamel

When infection forms a pocket around the root of the tooth, a pustule may form on the gums. Known as an abscess, this condition may come with additional symptoms such as a chronic bad taste in the mouth, gum redness, swollen lymph nodes, and fever.

If you notice any of these symptoms for a period of more than two days, you may have an infected tooth and it is important that you call our Indianapolis dentist to discuss your options.

Failure to seek a root canal when infection is present will likely result in the need to extract the tooth. Whenever possible we try to avoid this option, choosing to preserve instead of remove, allowing us to help maintain the integrity of your smile.

Dental Crowns and the Root Canal Process

During a root canal, Dr. Phelps carefully removes debris and infection from the inner chamber of the tooth. Once completed, the small access hole is filled with dental resin and the tooth itself is covered with a dental crown. This helps protect the now compromised tooth from future damage and helps you avoid unnecessary time spent in our office dealing with this same issue.

We value your time and know that finding openings for dental visits can be a challenge. This is one reason we offer CEREC dental crowns at our Indianapolis office. These crowns are milled onsite, while you wait, and placed during the same visit as your root canal. This saves you time and money while minimizing frustration – all without compromising the strength or beauty of your new dental crown.

CEREC dental crowns are sized, shaped, and colored to perfectly match adjacent teeth. The crowns created by our Indianapolis dentist are designed by advanced computer technology, allowing even the slightest details of the natural tooth to be reconstructed. The end result is a dental crown that looks and feels exactly like those healthy teeth surrounding it – allowing you to leave our office with a completely restored smile after just one visit.

Compare this process to the three to four visits over the course of a month that may be required to place a dental crown milled off-site and the advantages of CEREC become clear. During your dental crown consultation, Dr. Phelps can discuss this in greater detail.

Dental Crowns and Tooth Extraction

When a tooth has become so damaged that it requires extraction, you will have a few options for replacement. If the infection has not caused significant damage to the jawbone, you may be a candidate for a dental implant. Dr. Phelps also offers dental bridges and dentures for the replacement of missing teeth, though neither of these will provide the same strength as an implant.

With both implants and bridges, a dental crown will be needed for your final restoration. These, like the dental crowns used following a root canal, can be milled on-site, allowing for a faster restoration that enjoys the benefit of being custom-created by a dental team that knows what your smile looks like in real life. This is one more advantage of having your dental crowns created in-office.

It is preferable, but not always possible to avoid tooth extraction. We will do everything possible to preserve your natural teeth and discuss other options, as necessary, to prevent further damage to your smile.

If you are in need of a root canal or if you have questions about the placement of dental crowns, please call 317-793-6133 and schedule a consultation with Dr. John R. Phelps today. Dr. Phelps provides a full range of cosmetic, general, neuromuscular, and restorative services to men and women living in Indianapolis, Carmel, Noblesville, and all surrounding areas of Indiana.

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