One of the most common dentistry procedures, root canal therapy is done to treat exposed tooth nerves, when they become painful and/ or infected. Teeth have a tendency to develop nerve problems that result from tiny cracks in the tooth, trauma or deep decay. A person undergoing root canal treatment has his nerves, pulp and blood vessels from the tooth extracted. The treatment involves high cost and immense pain and thus, is avoided by most people who look for other alternatives to this therapy. In case, the infection is old and present for months, the nerves get dead and cannot heal on their own. Then the only option is root canal or tooth extraction. However, if the infection is relatively new, the nerves can be irritated and may respond to other treatments. Given below are the few options that work as alternatives to root canal treatment.
Alternative Treatments For Root Canal
Direct Pulp Capping
Direct pulp capping is increasingly gaining popularity these days, as an alternative to root canal. This method involves removing all decay and infected areas, followed by sterilizing the area to stop any bleeding. Thereafter, the dentist applies an appropriate filling, made with calcium hydroxide, over it. When done correctly, pulp caps work for a long time. Direct pulp capping is suitable for people whose teeth are in the in-between stage, where the nerve is irritated but alive and healthy enough to repair itself.
Popularly known as apicoectomy as well, endodontic surgery involves the removal of the root tips. After removing the tips, they are filled in as well, to seal off the root.
Antibiotic therapy can prove to be helpful in case the tooth infection is minor. In other cases, antibiotics can postpone the root canal therapy. The most commonly prescribed antibiotics are amoxicillin, Keflex and Penicillin VK. Along with these antibiotics, some patients also require pain relievers, such as ibuprofen.
Diet plays a major role in healing and preventing infections in the root canal. Foods such as raw milk from pasture raised animals, raw meat, fish, and yellow butter help treat infection, while foods with white sugar and flour trigger the same.
Plantain poultice is an herbal remedy used to fight infections in teeth. Found worldwide, plantain is a weed that pulls out toxins from the body, after which a poultice or moist mass is placed around the infected tooth.
The final and possibly the best alternative to root canal is the extraction of the tooth completely. Tooth extraction is a less expensive treatment than root canal. In case your tooth is extensively damaged due to tooth decay or lack of required tooth structure, tooth extraction forms the best alternative. The extracted tooth is replaced with a bridge, implant or partial denture.