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Should I get wisdom tooth extracted or get a root canal?


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Old 2nd November 2003, 4:00 PM   #1
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Wisdom teeth

I have a problem and don't know what is the best to do. I have a choice, to extract a wisdom tooth, which is the last tooth on the bottom, or to do a root canal. What is the best to do in this situation, did anybody have a similar problem? Appreciate any advice, thank you.
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Old 2nd November 2003, 4:03 PM   #2
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Extract the tooth, you don't need it anyway and it will only be sore for a day or so.

Depends on your insurance coverage, too. If you want to be knocked out (recommended) make sure it will be covered.
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Old 2nd November 2003, 4:07 PM   #3
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A root canal would save the tooth (the root part I think). The tooth itself is shaved down and a crown is placed on top of it, secured via dental adhesive.

An extraction would not save the tooth.

If it comes down to money, a simple extraction should only be a few hundred dollars. A surgical extraction would of course be more expensive - just as expensive as a root canal and crown replacement.

You'll have to factor in money, discomfort and if you choose a root canal, future maintenance of the tooth (i.e. how difficult will it be to keep clean, you could still get a cavity).

Hope this helps.
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Old 2nd November 2003, 4:19 PM   #4
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A wisdom tooth extraction isnít always perfect. If they hit the nerve, part of your face can be numbed for a while if not permanently. In my case, half of my face was numb for a week.
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Old 2nd November 2003, 4:23 PM   #5
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Get a professional opinion from a competent dentist on just how much trouble you may have with the tooth in the future if you have it repaired. We are not dentists here...or psychics.
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Old 2nd November 2003, 4:27 PM   #6
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Talk to your dentist about the options and reasons. Or see another dentist for a second opinion. I've had 3 wisdom teeth pulled (I have 5 roots on each tooth) and didn't have a problem. They left the last tooth in because I lost the one in front of it in an accident years before and the wisdom tooth floated forward bracing the other teeth. If I'd had that one extracted I might have had more problems and spaces in my teeth. You need to get some more info from your dentist.
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Old 2nd November 2003, 4:28 PM   #7
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Could they hit the nerve if they do a root canal?
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Old 2nd November 2003, 4:38 PM   #8
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When I had my two root canals they deaden the nerves then drilled down into them and removed them. My jaw was sore for a day afterward, but that was from being stretched so much! My doctor let me hold a mirror and watch what he was doing and it was fascinating. He showed me the drills and points that he used to go down into the roots before he started and I was a little nervous that I would feel some pain, but I didn't.

I admit, I am one of those strange people that find dentistry hilarious. I don't know why, I can't explain, but I laugh so much at what they do. My last dentist used to talk to me and ask me questions that required more than a nod 'yes' or 'no' while she had her hands in my mouth -- and she'd pause as though waiting for me to answer. I just drooled and rolled my eyes!

I scared her once when they were taking a complete dental impression - that put that goop in my mouth and the screens on top and handed me the suction hose. I thought I would choke then I got tickled at how horribly funny I must look with blue goo and a screen and drool and I started laughing and sat up and I got laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes and they thought for sure I was choking. They kept yelling at me "Are you alright!?" and pulled that stuff out of my mouth (my teeth felt like they were being stretched like rubber bands and must be at least an inch longer!) and when they got the stuff out I was just laughing like crazy. Maybe I shouldn't say "crazy"
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Old 2nd November 2003, 4:41 PM   #9
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"Could they hit the nerve if they do a root canal?"

The very object of a root canal is to get to the nerve and remove it so your tooth is no long infected and in pain. Your tissue is properly deadened by medication so you won't feel anything. Again, ask these questions of a professional, competent, licensed dentist. Coming to am Internet forum to get amateur medical or dental information is really weird. Of course, if you want to know about brain surgery...ask me anything you want.
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Old 2nd November 2003, 4:54 PM   #10
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Silly Tony! It's not weird to ask - If I were facing something like this and was uncomfortable I would be asking people - including on the 'net - other peoples opinions or experiences too -- if for no other reason than moral support! Now she knows some questions to ask too!

Now, about that brain surgery -- do you make your first cut from left to right - or top to bottom? And, you are not peeing while doing this are you?
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Old 2nd November 2003, 5:13 PM   #11
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I can only go by my own experience, which is probably what this person is interested in. I've had wisdom teeth removed and thought it was a fairly simple and pain free procedure (with drugs, of course). Last year I had a root canal and it was a royal pain in the butt. It involved several steps and wearing a temporary crown (mine kept coming off) and in my case it was very painful. After all, your tooth IS filed down to the root. I hated it. If it had been a tooth I could have just had extracted, I would definitely have chosen that option. But you should listen to your dentist before making any decisions.
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Old 2nd November 2003, 5:43 PM   #12
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I was referring to the nerve in the jaw. Sometimes, the wisdom teeth roots are close to a nerve in the jawbone. The roots may even wrap it. If they hit the nerve during the extraction process, expect some numbing.
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Old 7th November 2003, 6:57 AM   #13
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Your dentist is the best judge. If the tooth is not worth saving by root canal then it has to go. Normally it is not worth saving a wisdom tooth by root canal treatment unless other tooth/teeth in front of it are already missing. A clinical evaluation by a dentist is the only answer.
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Old 7th November 2003, 9:29 AM   #14
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I have two molars that have had root canals and crowns on them. I'll relate to what was told to me by my dentist.

Having a tooth extracted is relatively cheap and you have no lingering complications from the procedure. A root canal & crown is expensive, and is not permanent (The tooth that is left will at some point fall apart. Whether you live long enough to experience it is another issue. ) A dental implant is the most expensive, and is never as strong as the original tooth.

Choosing what procedure to take depends on a lot of things:

1) Cost
2) Appearance (Where will the gap be)
3) Potential for tooth "drift" (Movement of the surround teeth)

For me I picked the root canal & crown because my jaw is too large for the teeth I have (I would have kept my wisdom teeth had they come in properly and had room for another set). Between that and the 10 years of orthodontics any gap that a missing tooth would create will, over time, cause my teeth to shift within the jaw and become crooked. This can cause a lot of problems in the long run too: poor appearance, contact between teeth leading to faster decay, as well as bad biting which can cuase excessive wear, and faster decay.

Once the tooth under a crown fails, I plan on an implant to replace it. I have enough problems keeping my teeth clean and heathly as it is without recreating my former Bugs Bunny look from childhood.

In any event, consult with a dentist and an oral surgeon. They'll be able to cover all the pros and cons for your situation, discuss costs, and be able to determine payment plans on the option you choose.
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Old 17th November 2003, 6:07 PM   #15
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Just had done both in last 3 months...ouch

I recommend getting it pulled. It hurts more than the root canal, but is less expensive. You really don't need your wisdom teeth anyway. Wisdom teeth are mans way of not having fully evolved from our days as meat eaters when we needed all those extra teeth to chow down on a brontosaurus
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