Root Canal vs. Extraction: What’s the Difference?

Are you in need of a root canal or a tooth extraction? What exactly is the difference? Continue reading to learn more.

You’re at your dental appointment, and you expect it to be a routine checkup. But instead, your latest checkup ends with your dentist telling you that one of your teeth is in pretty rough shape. Before you know it, you hear the words “root canal” and “extraction.” You aren’t sure what to think. After all, you aren’t even sure what either case entails.

If this is you, we’re here to help! We understand that knowing you need any dental work can be overwhelming. So, we’ll explain the difference between a root canal and an extraction.

dental team and root canal vs extraction

Root canal vs extraction. Which is worse? While it’s likely you can’t avoid one of these two procedures, we’ll let you know precisely what the difference is between the two.

Many times, root canal and extraction are terms that get combined when, in reality, they are two completely different oral surgeries. Here we’ll offer a short guide to help you learn about the differences between the two. 

root canal inside on root canal vs extraction

1. Root Canal

If your dentist thinks that your tooth might still have a chance, then a root canal is the procedure for you. Where is that fine line between a live tooth and dead tooth, though? 

When your tooth is cracked, or you develop a deep cavity, bacteria will begin to seep deep inside the tooth to the pulp area. Here bacteria can grow and cause a painful infection. If the damage is caught before the situation is too bad, the tooth can be saved with a root canal.

Root Canal Procedure and Aftercare

Movies and sitcoms, just like anything else, can add a very dramatic effect to any situation, and this includes root canals. What you need to know is that they genuinely aren’t that bad. When a root canal is performed, the area is numbed, and you will feel very little during your procedure. Next, the dentist or oral surgeon will make a small incision in the tooth to open it up and access the pulp (the innermost portion of a tooth).

Once opened, the pulp of the tooth is removed, and the chambers are cleaned. When cleaning out the chambers, all traces of bacteria must be removed. Finally, the chambers will be filled with a replacement liquid that acts as the pulp. Depending upon the severity of your situation, this process can take multiple visits.

Once the entire process is complete, you might feel some discomfort, but that will subside on its own and relatively quickly. Simple over-the-counter pain medication should be all that you need. However, one thing to keep in mind is that if the painkillers don’t work, or the pain goes away and comes back, that is not normal. At this point, you should see your dentist.

catering dental team for root canal vs extraction

2. Extraction

If a dental problem isn’t caught in time and treated correctly, your tooth will be at the point of no return. This means that while your tooth’s pulp could be removed, the bacteria has entirely worn on the tooth’s structure. In this case, your tooth would not survive a root canal. If this is a situation that you have been presented with, then the decision will be easy when it comes to the debate of root canal vs extraction. Your dentist or oral surgeon will suggest an extraction at this point.

Procedure and Aftercare: 

When it comes down to it, an extraction is generally the more painful procedure of the two. During an extraction, your surgeon will numb the area and then loosen the tooth out of its socket using an elevator device. Once the tooth has been lifted, forceps will be used to finish the job. There is a chance during this procedure that you might experience some discomfort.

After the procedure is complete, you’ll need to hold pressure on the area by biting down on a cotton ball for approximately 45 minutes, which will help the blood to clot. You can expect your mouth to bleed lightly for up to 24 hours. Facial swelling can also be expected, but can easily be calmed with an ice pack.

When you’re up to eating again, make sure you stick to soft foods that are easy to chew. As you begin the healing process, you can slowly gravitate towards your favorite foods.


After some time, issues can arise once you have had an extraction. Teeth around the extraction site can begin to shift, or chewing and talking could become a struggle. Another issue that could occur is bone loss in the jaw.

One surefire way to avoid any of these issues altogether is to proceed with a dental implant. A dental implant will look and function just like a normal tooth. Even better, with the right insurance, your implant might be covered.  

biological dentist dr kathryn alderman on root canal vs extraction

3. Advantages of a Root Canal Vs. an Extraction

When weighing a root canal vs an extraction, a root canal does have a few advantages over an extraction in the long run. One of the most significant advantages of a root canal is that it keeps the smile you were born just the way it was initially. Another bonus is that you won’t have to worry about problems such as bone loss. Even better is that root canals are a simple procedure that rarely result in failure and are much less painful than extraction. 

dr christine bergman showing root canal vs extraction

4. Advantages of an Extraction

Although most people do prefer root canals, extractions do have their benefits, too. An extraction will completely get rid of any infection because the entire source will be removed. If you have an overcrowding problem with your teeth, an extraction will be a welcome benefit, too. Overcrowding of teeth can cause further decay simply because your teeth are overlapping. Overlapping of teeth causes residual food and bacteria to be left behind and the teeth’s surfaces can never be brushed entirely.

Biological dentist in lincoln ne on root canal vs extraction

Root Canal Vs Extraction: What Are The Differences?

When debating whether you should have a root canal vs extraction, it all comes down to the condition of your tooth. If the overall structure of the tooth is still strong, then a root canal is for you. But, if the tooth’s structure is not healthy and intact, then you will need to have an extraction.

caq difference root canal vs extraction

Here are some commonly asked questions about root canals vs extractions.

  1. Should I expect root canal pain?
    Root canals are relatively painless and are done to help you avoid pain entirely. You can expect to experience some discomfort for a few days post-procedure, but the pain should subside quickly. If you experience pain beyond a few days, consider giving your dentist a call.
  2. Root canal vs extraction, which is better? 
    As previously discussed in this article, the better option all depends upon the condition of your tooth. Some individuals have teeth where decay has fully set in, and the tooth structure is no longer intact therefore making an extraction a good option. On the other hand, a root canal is excellent for those who caught decay early enough, and the structure of the tooth is still sound.
  1. Root canal vs extraction pros and cons?
    Since they are both completely different procedures, they each have pros and cons.

    Pros for a root canal include helping avoid the spread of infection and pain, also, having a root canal preserves bone because the tooth has not been removed.

    Cons for a root canal could include some discomfort for a few days.

    Pros for extraction include cost-effectiveness and making room for overcrowded teeth.

    Cons for a tooth extraction include pit formation, which can occur if you don’t replace the extracted tooth, and possible adverse effects on nearby teeth (such as possible chipping during removal). And, if the gap isn’t filled, surrounding teeth are likely to shift.
  1. Cracked tooth root canal vs extraction?
    While a root canal and an extraction might be viable options for a cracked tooth, if you have a tooth that is cracked far below the gum line, then an extraction is the top option. But, If you have a cracked tooth and just the pulp is compromised (and it can be removed safely), a root canal is a great option.
  1. Root canal vs extraction cost?
    The cost factor is undeniable when it comes to comparing a root canal to an extraction. 

    A root canal does cost more than an extraction. A root canal can cost around $1000 to $1200, while an extraction generally costs under $500. BUT, something to keep in mind is that when you have an extraction, it’s always a good idea to fill the gap, so you must also figure in the cost of an implant if you want to preserve bone.

Is it safe to have root canal therapy if a patient has an autoimmune condition or is compromised medically? Are root canals safe for overall health?

Root canal therapy requires the removal of the source of a toothache. The reason a toothache happens can be an acutely inflamed nerve, or a nerve that is infected or abscessed. If the tooth has acute inflammation, a gentle and affordable root canal is very safe for overall health. If the tooth’s nerve is infected or there is an abscess surrounding the tooth, the challenge is to remove all of the infection.

Often, the bacteria in an infected nerve cannot be completely removed, and the tooth becomes a source of chronic infection. After removing the nerve and blood supply from the tooth, it is virtually an empty, dead space. Bacteria that were responsible for a toothache before can multiply in this “dead” space, leading to this chronic infection in the patient’s mouth.

What is the best solution if you have a toothache or an infected tooth?

The best option is to set up an appointment with Dr. Kathryn Alderman.  This Lincoln dentist that understands the importance of removing bacteria and treating teeth with root canal therapy, especially for patients with a compromised immune system.

If a patient has a long-standing tooth infection leading to the loss of bone or the presence of pus, a root canal is a poor treatment option for saving an abscessed tooth. Performing a root canal on an abscessed tooth will lead to a chronic low-grade infection in a patient’s mouth. Many patients have a certain amount of tolerance for poor dental work and associated low-grade infection with it, but for patients with auto-immune disorders, the immune system will struggle daily with keeping up the body’s protection as a result of this kind of infection. Having a compromised root canal can put an additional and unnecessary strain on an already compromised immune system.

Which teeth are appropriate for completing gentle and affordable root canal therapy?

Sometimes a tooth is simply cracked, broken, or newly placed with a dental filling. All of those things can lead to acute inflammation of the tooth. At this point, there is no extensive amount of harmful bacteria inside the tooth, and the tooth is hurting simply due to acute inflammation, indicated by sharp and often radiating toothaches. The good news is that this type of tooth can be saved and preserved with a root canal treatment.

Cracked tooth and root canal prognosis?

If the crack in a tooth is small, a root canal can be performed, and a tooth can be saved. If a crack is extensive and permeates the roots of a tooth, it would be best to remove the tooth and to not spend money or time saving the tooth.

Is it better to see an endodontist for root canal therapy?

Dr. Kathryn Alderman has performed hundreds of root canals and is qualified to perform root canal therapy. On certain occasions, she will refer her patients to an endodontist if the necessary root canal is extremely complicated. If you wonder if you can avoid an expensive root canal procedure by an endodontist in Lincoln, NE, the best is to have a consultation with Dr. Kathryn Alderman and to evaluate a tooth that needs treatment.

Where can I find root canal therapy for children in Lincoln, NE?

Root canal treatment in younger children is often called pulpectomy treatment. Children use their back teeth for chewing and maintaining the space necessary for permanent teeth to come in. Dr. Kathryn Alderman, your Lincoln dentist, does perform root canal treatment for children at any of her locations and is great at comforting your kids and helping them relax during dental appointments.

Is it normal to have pain or sensitivity after root canal therapy?

Be sure not to chew or bite on a treated tooth until the full root canal treatment is completed. After root canal treatment your tooth will likely be sensitive. You can use over-the-counter medications to help manage anticipated mild discomfort.

After completing root canal therapy, you should not experience a sharp pain or a toothache weeks later. If you do experience a sharp toothache after root canal therapy, you should see our Lincoln, NE emergency dentist for an evaluation.

How long does pain after a root canal therapy last?

You may experience mild jaw discomfort immediately following a root canal. This mild discomfort can be controlled with over-the-counter Ibuprofen or Tylenol. You should not be experiencing a sharp pain or a toothache after your root canal.

Will I need to take time off work after root canal procedure?

You can expect to be numb and to have mild jaw soreness after root canal therapy. If your job requires talking to people, your mouth may be numb for a few hours and may want to take a day off. In general, you can go back to work right after a root canal therapy and continue with your regular activities. Most patients return to work soon after root canal therapy.

What is the cost for gentle and affordable root canal therapy in Lincoln, NE?

The average cost for a gentle and affordable root canal therapy ranges between $400 to $850 in Lincoln, NE. The cost of a root canal from an endodontist is typically over $1000. The cost is higher as most endodontists do not accept major insurance plans in Lincoln, NE. If you want a gentle and affordable root canal, Dr. Kathryn Alderman can perform a root canal therapy at any of her locations, and the cost for a root canal would be dramatically cheaper in comparison with the cost of an endodontist. Dr. Kathryn Alderman accepts most major insurance plans, and the cost for root canal therapy after insurance may be as little as $150.

Does dental insurance cover a root canal treatment?

Most dental insurances will cover anywhere from 50-80% of the cost of a root canal.

What is the cost for a root canal without dental insurance in Lincoln, NE?

The cost for a root canal without insurance in Lincoln, NE is between $400-$1400 (depending on the tooth) If you are looking for a dental payment plan, we would be happy to talk through dental payment options for a root canal treatment at any of our offices.

I have a tooth with a root canal and a crown, and it hurts, is that normal?

If you experience discomfort right after root canal therapy, it is normal and mild discomfort is anticipated. If you experience a toothache or mild discomfort long after root canal therapy, it could be a sign of a cracked tooth or an infected tooth. You should see our emergency dentist in Lincoln, NE to evaluate your toothache.

Should I have pain in a tooth with a root canal therapy years later?

You should not have pain or a toothache or swelling years after the root canal therapy. If you experience pain or swelling years after a root canal therapy, you should see an emergency dentist to evaluate your toothache.

The bottom line is that extraction and a root canal are two very different procedures, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. An excellent way to figure out which option is right for you is to talk to your dentist. He or she will help guide you in the right direction so you can preserve your smile. After all, a beautiful smile makes the best impression!


Baby Teeth: When They Come In and When They Fall Out

A child receiving his or her first set of teeth is a milestone. Likewise, when your child loses his or her first tooth, that’s also considered a landmark. With the anxiety and anticipation associated with both of these events, it’s quite understandable that most parents want to know the details about what to expect. The two biggest questions are when should they expect their child’s first tooth to come in and when they should expect their child’s first tooth to fall out. We know that these questions, among others, are important. So, in our article we’ll answer these questions:

  • What order do baby teeth come in?
  • What age kids lose their teeth?
  • At what age permanent teeth begin to grow?
  • Cavities in baby teeth: Are they worth filling?

 Let’s start with the events in the order they occur.

dr ohara teaching dental health to child about baby teeth

Baby Teeth: What Order do Baby Teeth Come In?  When Do They Emerge?

Typically, the first question many parents have is just how many baby teeth will my child have? To be exact, the answer is that 20 primary baby teeth are present within a child’s jaw at birth. These teeth generally start to erupt or appear between the age of six months to one year. By the age of three, your child has a full set of teeth. One important thing to remember, however, is that every child is different. Because of their differences, exact dates for when these milestones will occur cannot be given, nor should they be expected.

mother learning about baby teeth process

Listed below is the approximate order in which you can expect your child to receive their baby teeth:

  • Lower Incisors or Center Teeth on the Lower Jaw: Generally arrive somewhere between 6 and 10 months.
  • Top Incisors or Top Center Teeth: Erupt between 8 to 12 months.
  • Lateral Incisors (found just to either side of the center incisors): Typically erupt between 9 and 13 months.
  • Canines: Can be expected to come in between 16 to 23 months.
  • First Molars: First molars can be expected to arrive between the ages of 13 to 19 months.
  • Second Molars: Will arrive somewhere between 23 and 33 months.

If you’ve ever experienced the teething process with a child, you know that as teeth begin to make their way through the gum tissue, it can be a very stressful time for anyone involved. Some of the more common signs your child might be teething are excessive drooling, inflamed gums, irritability, and the desire to chew on anything within reach. During this time, you must remain understanding and provide your child with the necessary support. It’s also critical to help your child maintain proper oral hygiene.

kids still with baby teeth doing sports

At What Age Do Kids Lose Their Teeth? 

Once all of your child’s baby teeth have fully erupted, it is vital to keep up with excellent oral hygiene, which means brushing twice daily to keep them healthy and clean. For best results, dentists recommend that parents assist their child with brushing until they reach eight. These baby teeth will get loose during this time, begin to wiggle, and eventually fall out.

Generally, baby teeth begin falling out in the order in which they first appeared. The teeth found in the lower center will go first, followed by the pair found on the top in the center, and so on. Typically, teeth begin to fall out by age six, but because everyone is different, some kids can start to lose teeth by the age of four.

Most children are overcome with excitement when they feel their first tooth begin to wiggle – not to mention a visit from the ever so famous Tooth Fairy also helps. But, not all kids get excited. It’s not uncommon for a child to worry that losing a tooth might hurt.

If your child has concerns and is worried, you can reassure them that they likely won’t feel a thing. A baby tooth generally doesn’t become loose until the force of the permanent tooth below begins pushing it up and out. However, something to keep in mind is that your child can lose a baby tooth or teeth before their permanent tooth is fully prepared to erupt.

teen nice smile with no baby teeth

Permanent Teeth: At What Age Do Permanent Teeth Grow? How Soon Can You Expect to See Them?

Once permanent teeth have begun making their way in, you might notice that the permanent teeth look more prominent, and you would be correct. Not only do adult teeth tend to be bigger, but they also aren’t as white as baby teeth. Besides, you’ll even notice that they have pronounced ridges. The reason for the ridges is because they have not yet been used for chewing and biting.


Cancer and Your Mouth: How can your Dentist help?

Being diagnosed with cancer of any kind is, without a doubt, life-changing. It is not only life-changing for the patient but for the family of a cancer patient as well. The focus immediately becomes on treatment. In many cases, the side effects of this treatment can be overlooked.  For that reason, we’re here to lend a helping hand and answer some commonly asked questions regarding your oral health and the side effects of common cancer treatments. Some commonly asked questions of dentists for cancer patients are:

  • What is mucositis?
  • What is burning mouth syndrome?
  • What is dry mouth and thrush?
  • What does it mean if I have a metallic taste in my mouth?
  • Why do we get ulcers in our mouth? 
  • What is the most common reason for mouth ulcers?

Many people don’t realize that cancer treatment(s), in many cases, will affect the mouth. For this reason, it’s vital that your dentist be part of your team of healthcare providers helping you before, during, and beyond cancer treatments. 

fear of the unknown patient dentist for dental anxiety of avoiding Cancer and Your Mouth

I have cancer. Can I see my dentist? How often should I go?

After being diagnosed, patients are typically overwhelmed with the number of appointments made and the next steps of treatment that visiting the dentist can often be forgotten. It is important to visit the dentist for regular check-ups once you are diagnosed, during treatment, and beyond. 

dr barth interacting with patient to avoiding Cancer and Your Mouth

Why does cancer treatment affect the mouth?

Cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation and destroy rapidly growing cells. One of the areas with the most rapidly growing cells is in our mouth. Because the mouth also is home to many different types of bacteria, it is also a common area for potential infections to start when patients are undergoing cancer treatments. 

Before treatment

If at all possible, it is most ideal to visit your dentist before beginning cancer treatments, especially if your cancer involves radiation to the head or neck. We as healthcare professionals, want to ensure there are no oral health concerns that need to be addressed, as well as discuss methods to help prevent problems in the future. It is also a great time to discuss potential side effects of medications so you can have all the tools you need if adverse side effects do become an issue during or after cancer treatment. 

Your dentist can evaluate to see if there are any sources of potential irritation that need to be altered, such as ill-fitting dentures, partial dentures, or other oral appliances. 

Discussing and learning techniques to fine-tune your oral hygiene can help prevent extensive dental decay after treatment and help prevent infections. 

mature woman smile to avoiding Cancer and Your Mouth

What oral problems should I expect during cancer treatments?

Every patient’s experience with cancer will widely differ. There are many types of chemotherapy treatments, radiation treatments, and medications that all have different side effects in different people. Some common oral concerns from patients going through treatment are mouth sores, dry mouth, and altered taste. 

Advice for cancer patients with a dry mouth or mouth sores…

  • Let your dentist know right away if you are experiencing any mouth sores or dry mouth; a dentist or dental oncologist can often prescribe a topical medication to help with these issues.
  • Meticulous oral hygiene will be very important to help prevent any mouth sores from becoming infected if mouth sores do occur.
  • Use an extra-soft toothbrush and warm the bristles to help soften even more. 
  • Avoid rough-textured foods. 
  • Your dentist will discuss fluoride treatments to help prevent decay that can happen quickly as a result of dry mouth. 
  • Avoid mouthwashes that contain alcohol.
  • Avoid spicy foods.
  • If you experience dry mouth, sip water frequently, suck on ice chips, or sugar-free candy, use a saliva substitute to aid in keeping the mouth moist. 
Biological dentist in lincoln ne to avoiding Cancer and Your Mouth

What Is a Dental Oncologist? 

Are there really dentists for cancer patients? How does the dental treatment for cancer patients differ?

Some cancer teams will include a Dental Oncologist. Dental oncologists are specially trained dentists for cancer patients, that train alongside general dentists. The most significant difference in a dental oncologist is that they go on to attend an additional one-year fellowship program after four years of dental school. This one-year fellowship program focuses on many areas of dentistry and cancer treatment. A major area of study during this program is making prostheses for patients who are undergoing surgeries due to cancer. Also, they address the oral side effects of cancer treatments. Mayo Clinic. They are trained extensively on medical oncology, radiation oncology, oral diagnosis, speech pathology, and more and are equipped to care for patients undergoing complicated medical procedures such as those to treat cancer. 

Although our dentists at South Lincoln Family Dentistry are not trained dental oncologists, we are able to help with many oral health needs that arise before, during, and after treatment. We will also gladly work with your dental oncologist to discuss dental treatment needs. It is good to ask your oncologist if there will be a dental oncologist to work on your team of providers wherever you seek treatment. 

smiling beauiful woman looking up to avoiding Cancer and Your Mouth

What if I can’t find a Dental Oncologist?

General dentists are trained to help evaluate any oral concerns that should be taken care of before cancer treatments begin. It is most ideal that the initial meeting with your dental team will occur approximately one month before cancer treatment. Any invasive procedures, like extractions, should happen, at minimum, two weeks before radiation begins. Your dentist will target and treat oral infection sources that may be present, such as gum disease or cavities. It is also important that your dentist evaluate potential areas of oral trauma from things such as ill-fitting orthodontic appliances or dentures.

Once treatment has begun, it is best that non-emergent treatment needs be discussed with your oncology team and be delayed if possible. This includes any new dental prosthetics. If radiation is completed, patients should visit their dentist more regularly as many side effects from this treatment present themselves after treatment is completed. 

biological dentist dr kathryn alderman on to avoiding Cancer and Your Mouth

Most common oral side effects. What are they?

Cancer treatment(s) can harm rapidly dividing cells. Many of these cells are located within the mouth, according to For this reason, we know that cancer therapy can lead to having many oral side effects. Luckily, however, all of these issues can be treated by your team of dental oncology professionals or dentists for cancer patients. As explained by a review in Stomatological Disease and Science, some of the specific areas they focus on include:


  • Seeing your dentist prior to treatment to ensure your mouth is free of active gum disease and dental decay can aid in preventing infections. 


  • Painful inflammation of the oral tissues. Some dentists can manage this with oral rinses and topical anesthetics.

Extreme dry mouth

  • This can be temporarily relieved by drinking lots of water and chewing sugarless gum.

Changes in Taste or loss of taste

  • Changes in your ability to taste might reside on its own in the weeks after treatment.

Problems swallowing

  • This is also called dysphasia. Dysphasia means having trouble swallowing food or getting liquid down the throat. Some people describe dysphagia as feeling as something is caught in their throat. Other people may feel as if trying to swallow causes them to gag or cough. Dental oncologists could address difficulty swallowing, with home remedies or medications. Eating soft foods may be another recommendation that a dental oncologist may make, reports the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Oral Thrush

  • Oral candidiasis, or oral thrush, is a prevalent problem for patients with dry mouth.
  • Thrush can cause pain and oral burning. The appearance of thrush in a patient with dry mouth often appears like “white cottage-cheese.” The tongue might show grooves, and the corners of the lips appear red and crusty, which is called angular cheilitis.
patient on burning mouth syndrome and to avoiding Cancer and Your Mouth

What is burning mouth syndrome? Can dentists for cancer patients or general dentists help with burning mouth syndrome?

Another concern that could arise for cancer patients during treatment is burning mouth syndrome. What is burning mouth syndrome? Burning mouth syndrome is exactly what you might think. It is  a chronic or recurrent burning in the mouth without an apparent cause. Burning mouth syndrome can affect areas of the mouth such as the lips, gums, tongue, roof of the mouth, and even the inside of the cheeks. The burning sensation can be quite severe and, in some cases, can seem as though you have burned the inside of your mouth. Many times, burning mouth syndrome appears suddenly. For this reason, it’s essential to work closely with your team of medical professionals to help manage the symptoms.

covering mouth Cancer and Your Mouth

Why do I have a metallic taste in my mouth?

Also, another side effect that those being treated for cancer might experience is a metallic taste in the mouth. This can happen for patients being treated with either radiation or chemotherapy. A metallic taste can occur from eating foods high in protein, such as meat. While not everyone experiences a metallic taste, it is common. There are multiple things you can try to help combat this issue. For more tips and ideas of things to try, go to Again, all dentists for cancer patients can help address this concern.

woman thinking about avoiding Cancer and Your Mouth

Are mouth ulcers common in cancer patients?

What about mouth ulcers? Although there is no definite cause, there are most certainly factors that trigger mouth ulcers. Generally, mouth ulcers and even canker sores are caused by some form of trauma. Radiation and chemotherapy, either alone or combined, can cause sores in the mouth. Why? Various forms of cancer treatment are intended to kill cells that quickly multiply, many of which happen to be cancer cells. Some completely healthy, normal cells within the body also grow and divide quickly. These same cells happen to be found on the inside of the mouth. Ultimately, those undergoing cancer treatment are more prone to developing mouth sores because they are undergoing treatment. To learn more about mouth sores and pain, visit If you are prone to developing cold sores, see our tips on how to stop a cold sore. Although you may not be able to entirely eradicate the problem of mouth sores, there are most definitely things you can do to make them more tolerable.

bright smiling young man to avoiding Cancer and Your Mouth

In conclusion:

Cancer can be an overwhelming process that incurs a long journey of both treatment(s) and recovery. We don’t want the oral side effects of any cancer treatments to add to you or your loved one’s plate.  Even though your oral health treatment plan may look a bit different from someone who does not have cancer, you and your comfort are extremely important to us. Dental treatment for cancer patients is critical, and your mouth is an incredibly delicate but vital part of helping you sustain and maintain health. Being able to eat, drink, and speak are all things anyone who is on this journey needs. Dentists who work with cancer patients, or a dental oncologist, will work diligently as part of a team of providers to help cancer patients in their journey – throughout the diagnosis, treatment, and recovery process. Don’t let cancer take control. Find a team of skilled professionals, including dentists that treat cancer patients, to help you. You don’t have to do it alone!


Are Root Canals Safe for Overall Health?

Root canal safety: are root canals safe for overall health endodontist in Lincoln, NE

When a cavity reaches the nerve of the tooth, a root canal becomes the last option available to save the tooth. Occasionally, a tooth may die without any signs of a cavity. In both cases, the nerve of the tooth dies and becomes infected. For root canal safety, the bacteria from this nerve death or infection from a cavity must be completely eliminated. If it is not successfully eliminated, the tooth will become a source of chronic infection.

happy wellness woman

Root Canal Safety: What is the Solution?

The best way to be proactive about the potential failure of a root canal is to find a root canal dentist or endodontist in Lincoln, NE who understands the importance of eliminating the bacteria and is careful about selecting eligible teeth for root canal therapy. Many teeth do not qualify for root canal therapy due to the extent of infection around the tooth. The prognosis for these teeth is poor, and patients are better served by removing teeth with extensive infections.

Root Canal Safety: What Kind of Teeth are Appropriate Candidates for a Root Canal?

Your root canal dentist or endodontist in Lincoln, NE can help you determine if your tooth is a good candidate for root canal therapy. A tooth that is broken, or injured usually does not contain a significant amount of harmful bacteria. In this situation, the nerve of the tooth is dealing with a short-term, acute inflammation of the pulp or nerve. This tooth can often be saved successfully with root canal therapy.

root canal progression

What About Abscessed or Infected Teeth?

If a patient has had a long-standing tooth infection, an abscess will typically develop as a result. Performing a root canal is a poor treatment option for saving an abscessed tooth, and doing so can lead to chronic low-grade infection in a patient’s mouth. Many patients have a high tolerance for this kind of infection. However, those with autoimmune disorders will find themselves struggling to stay healthy as a consequence of a compromised root canal. This kind of infection puts unnecessary stress on a person’s body. This is a situation in which the safety of a root canal should be questioned by your dentist or local endodontist in Lincoln, NE.

Root Canal Safety: What are My Options If a Root Canal Will Not Work?

Typically, the next best option would be to create a dental implant made out of biologically compatible material. A dental implant will protect you from the buildup of bacteria and the resulting infection.

Commonly asked questions for an endodontist about root canals?

The answers are taken from the American Academy of Endodontists

America academy of Endodontists

My tooth hurts after the root canal is it normal?

Immediately after a root canal, it is normal to have some tenderness around the area. This makes some patients question root canal safety. The fact is that your symptoms before the root canal are usually much worse than any symptoms afterwards. Within a few days, the natural inflammation your body creates to heal after the procedure should subside.

I have soreness after root canal and how long should it last?

For the first 24-48 hours after having a root canal with your dentist or local endodontist in Lincoln, NE a root canal, it is not uncommon to have some aching and sensitivity. This is your body’s normal response to the micro-surgery of root canal therapy. You can take ibuprofen and Tylenol to help manage these symptoms during this time, but your symptoms should subside soon after your root canal has been completed if everything is healing normally.

What is the best medication for a toothache and pain relief after root canal?

After receiving root canal therapy from your dentist or local endodontist in Lincoln, NE, you may take Tylenol and ibuprofen to manage your discomfort after the procedure. You may alternate doses of Tylenol and ibuprofen for best results.

Can you still get a toothache after root canal years alter?

Root canal safety has been a concern, especially for patients who have had toothaches years after their treatment. If the root canal was successful and the body healed normally afterward, you should not experience any toothaches years later. A toothache years after a root canal is usually from a cracked root that has created infection around the root canal. Also, a toothache could be a chronic, low-grade infection from an unsuccessful root canal that is no longer tolerated by the body. In this case, the tooth should be removed.

Is it normal to have sharp toothache months after root canal?

It is not normal to experience a sharp toothache months after a root canal especially if it was successful initially. If the tooth had a micro-crack or the infection was too extensive before the root canal was performed, this can result in failure of the root canal and the tooth should be removed to get rid of the infection.  You should call your dentist or local endodontist in Lincoln, NE if you are experiencing a sharp toothache months after a root canal.

Is it better to have a root canal or extraction?

Every tooth should be carefully evaluated by your dentist or local endodontist in Lincoln, NE before having a root canal done. Root canal safety is not guaranteed for teeth that have a large infection or have root fractures. It is not possible to completely eliminate the bacteria causing infection in these situations and patients are better off removing teeth and replacing them with dental implants.

What is the cost of a root canal vs. extraction in Lincoln, NE?

The cost of root canals and extractions vary depending on the tooth and severity of the condition of the tooth. You dentist or local endodontist in Lincoln, NE can give you an estimate based on your insurance coverage for both procedures.

Can I go back to work after a root canal?

Root canal safety and returning to work afterward are common questions patients ask. Some patients choose to take the day off if they do not want to be numb during working hours. The anesthetic administered for root canal treatment lasts longer than the average anesthetic used for fillings. This is the patient’s choice. Ask your dentist or local endodontist in Lincoln, NE in your specific case.

What to do for pain relief with the sharp pain after root canal?

After the anesthesia wears off, and your root canal has been completed, you may feel sore and tender. This should only last for a day or two. During this time, you may alternate between ibuprofen and Tylenol to reduce inflammation and help bring down any swelling. If your pain is increasing significantly after your root canal, call you dentist or local endondontist in Lincoln, NE to make sure your tooth is healing normally.

If you’re concerned about your teeth or have any questions about the root canal process, feel free to make an appointment online with a local dentist near me or give us a call.

Nebraska Family Dentistry has multiple Lincoln Dental Clinics!
Choose any location “dentist near me” convenient for you.


What is the Best Whitening System?

What is the best whitening system that produces great results? 

How much does it cost to achieve the best whitening results fast?

How long will it take to get my teeth white?

What is the best hassle-free whitening process on the market?

How fast and how white can I get my teeth? 

Are the tooth whitening kits purchased from the store as effective as professional whitening performed in-office?

While marketing and advertising generate buzz about the latest products, there still seems to be some confusion — and even debate — about the best way to achieve whiter teeth. Consumers want to know: What is the best whitening system? Which whitening system produces the number one results? How much does it cost to achieve the best whitening results? How long will it take to get whiter teeth?

It seems that it is hard for most individuals to justify the added expense of in-office professional whitening from their dentist. In-office whitening generally costs anywhere from $200 to more than $500. On the other hand, an over-the-counter whitening kit often costs less than eighty dollars. The big picture is that store-bought whitening kits don’t tend to work as well or as quickly. But why?

Still wondering…”what is the best whitening system?”

OTC, or over-the-counter whitening systems, such as Whitestrips by Crest®, use hydrogen peroxide as the primary and active ingredient. Hydrogen peroxide is also the same active ingredient that is used in many professional whitening systems. However, the concentration is generally much lower. In the case of Crest® Whitestrips, this low concentration of hydrogen peroxide is mixed into a gel (glycerin). This same gel that is found on the back of the whitening strips. Unfortunately, when this glycerin gel is applied to the teeth, it covers the teeth and a portion of the gum tissue.

Does in-office whitening use Hydrogen Peroxide?

For this reason, the concentration of any hydrogen peroxide in the gel must be kept as low as possible. If the amount of hydrogen peroxide is too high, it can cause chemical burns to the gum tissue. This gel will whiten teeth, but it occurs over time. Because the concentration of Hydrogen peroxide is so low, it takes much more time. Likewise, more frequent applications are required versus a professional whitening system. But, how are the professional systems different?

The two most noticeable differences between an OTC whitening system and a professional system are:

#1. The difference in concentration of the whitening agent. 

Over-the-counter bleaching systems like those from Crest® (Whitestrips) use 10% hydrogen peroxide. Professional bleaching systems use up to 45% carbamide peroxide to provide their bleaching effects. 

Our professional in-office whitening products do not contain any hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide leads to severe sensitivity. Also, it takes longer to see results when using Hydrogen peroxide. Instead, we use carbamide peroxide. Carbamide peroxide penetrates deeper leading to a whiter, brighter smile more quickly.

Store-bought whitening strips can easily slide around. Thus, they produce extra sensitivity even though they have a weaker bleaching solution concentration. Whitening strips purchased in-store contain only a maximum of 10% hydrogen peroxide, but they create sensitivity by sliding around and irritating gums. Professional level bleaching, which offers the best whitening system today, contains 35-45% Carbamide peroxide | CH6N2O3 – PubChem

Image containing information about store-bought whitening strips vs professional whitening solution.

#2. The greatest disadvantage of store-bough whitening strips is that the strips easily slide around. Thus, they produce extra sensitivity despite a weaker bleaching solution. 

A store-bought whitening kit is a one size fits all and is not an exact fit. Professional options, which tend to be the best whitening system today, use custom-made “trays.” Custom made trays hold the whitening gel in direct contact with the teeth preventing any contact with gum tissue. Professional teeth whitening trays are a thin, flexible shell of clear plastic that gently rests over the teeth, forming a barrier along the gum line.

Custom trays, which comprise the best whitening system, are fabricated with small pockets or reservoirs to directly hold the hydrogen peroxide gel on each tooth’s fronts. Because the trays are custom made, impressions of the teeth must be made on the first visit. Thus, any duplicate or subsequent impressions of the teeth can be made with a “plaster-like” substance.

Whitening tray over teeth with seal along gum line (indicated by the arrows) for the best whitening system.
Fig. 1—Whitening tray over teeth with seal along gum line (arrows).
Image of plaster models of teeth that are used when making trays for a whiter smile.
Fig. 2—Plaster models of teeth used to create clear plastic whitening trays.

On the second visit, we will try the newly made plastic trays to ensure superior fit and excellent comfort. At that time, detailed instructions will be given to the patient regarding how to dispense the proper amount of whitening gel into the trays.

Image of whitening solution being applied to custom trays.
Fig. 3—Loading bleaching gel into the plastic tray.
NFD banner about using and caring for custom whitening trays.

Learn more at:

How long will it take to get my teeth whiter even if I use the best whitening system?

Generally speaking, the age of teeth, the amount of initial staining, and the amount of enamel determines just how long you may need to whiten your teeth. Younger patients tend to have fewer stains and more enamel versus that of older patients.

Image of a banner about teeth whitening for children from NFD.

Read more about teeth whitening in young kids.

What is the best method of whitening for fast, effective results? 

Our dentists use the Opalescence® system.

The benefits of Opalescence® system are:

  • Opalescence® tooth whitening gel contains PF (potassium nitrate and fluoride), which helps maintain enamel’s health throughout the whitening process.
  • Formulated to prevent dehydration and shade relapse.
  • Opalescence® in-office whitening contains 35% Carbamide peroxide CH6N2O3 – PubChem concentration.
  • Custom trays are used to apply sticky, viscous gel that won’t migrate to soft tissues.

How fast and how white can I get my teeth? What are the factors that influence the whitening results?

The answer is that it entirely depends on how dark and stained the teeth are initially, the level of whitening desired, and how frequently whitening gel is applied.

The whitening’s final results depend on the initial tooth color shade. Comparatively, patients that have a more yellow hue have a much greater response to whitening versus those with more gray or brown hue. Every patient has a unique and inherent whitening potential. 

What is initial tooth color shade or inherent whitening potential?

Unique and inherent whitening potential – is a level at which our teeth won’t whiten anymore, and this varies from person to person. Ultimately, our teeth whitening amount is controlled by our genes and the amount of enamel on our teeth. Of course, some people can achieve great whitening results, and some can not get those super white teeth. Those particular individuals might want to consider dental veneers or crowns for achieving a bright, white smile.

Check out this smile and the little amount of enamel. You can see thin enamel and not much tooth enamel structure remains. This particular patient would not be able to get her teeth super white with whitening products. Dental veneers or crowns would be her only choice to get super white teeth.

Image of a smile with stained teeth.

Another patient case shows extraordinary whitening results. This patient has lots of enamel, which led to excellent and fast teeth whitening results.

Before and after image of a happy patient from Nebraska Family Dentistry with whiter teeth.

In conclusion, the best whitening system is one that is of professional grade. Professional whitening systems produce better results because they have custom made trays and stronger whitening solutions. 

For some patients with a minimal amount of enamel or severely worn teeth, teeth whitening may not give them the desired results. In the end, those patients should consider dental veneers or crowns to achieve super white teeth. 

Our dentists are more than willing to help you decide the best teeth whitening method for you. A confident smile is a beautiful smile. If you have more questions, please feel free to give us a call. We’re here to help!

Additional CAQs you may have about teeth whitening: 

Why does teeth bleaching create sensitivity?

Reason #1: Tooth dehydration. A large concentration of hydrogen peroxide naturally dehydrates the teeth during bleaching. In addition, using a UV or LED light makes can cause even more sensitivity!

Reason #2: Gums become sensitive due to teeth whitening solution spilling over. For this reason, custom trays are essential. Equally important, be sure to take extra care and do not to add too much whitening solution.

Is Teeth Whitening Safe?

Teeth bleaching and whitening is one of the safest cosmetic procedures we do in dentistry.

At the concentrations we use in dentistry (5%-38%), it doesn’t damage the enamel. Likewise, there is no softening, stripping, or abnormal wear of the enamel associated with whitening.

What does bleaching do to the enamel? 

According to research, at the concentrations we use in dentistry (5%-38%), it doesn’t damage the enamel. Not to mention, there is no softening, stripping, or abnormal wear of the enamel associated with whitening. 

How old must you be to do teeth whitening?

Dental professionals recommend not beginning the whitening process before the age of 13. Do keep in mind, however, this may vary depending on the patient. Due to the enlarged pulp chamber in children and young adults, the teeth’ nerves can be very sensitive. Therefore, it may not be advisable.

How long will teeth whitening results last?

Teeth whitening results generally tend to leave you with a stunning smile long after treatment. Do remember, though, that some factors can make teeth lose their shine; things like diet, genetics, age, medications (like tetracycline), and individual habits (such as smoking) can all affect the length of time that your whitening results will last. Fortunately, however, touch-up treatments are easy and quick. Thus, you can get that bright, white smile back quickly. 

What about whitening my existing dental work? 

Can I whiten a filling or crown? Is there a “best whitening system” for restorations?

No. Unfortunately, only natural tooth structure can be whitened. Any crowns or fillings you have will not react to whitening products. If you have a crown or a visible filling, you may want to talk to your dentist about different options to improve your smile.

Does Charcoal Toothpaste Work for Whitening Teeth? Although charcoal tooth products can make teeth feel extremely clean and smooth, there are some disadvantages. Charcoal is more abrasive than regular toothpaste. So, it is to avoid using charcoal toothpaste daily. Learn more…/trending-hygiene…/

Other CAQs and links to more

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