Root canal therapy (RCT) is the only alternative to extraction for an abscessed tooth. A tooth which has developed an abscess will have pulp, or nerve tissue inside it which no longer has a healthy blood supply. The process by which this occurs is complex but it usually occurs as a result of trauma, gum disease or tooth decay. Teeth which have historically had large fillings placed may well go on to ‘die off’ leading to abscess development. Many people may have an abscess without being aware of it; however when they start to give problems very few people are able to ignore an abscess for long.
Extraction of the affected tooth, whilst dealing with the problem, will obviously lead to not only a space but also loss of the use of any opposing tooth. If it is a molar tooth that is lost, the loss of a single tooth on one side can lead to a doubling of the force the remaining molars on that side are expected to cope with. As a result of this remaining, restored teeth may go on to chip or break.
Implants, although an excellent mode of tooth replacement, are expensive and are not a panacea. If your abscessed tooth has good bone support it is almost always going to be better to attempt to keep the natural tooth by providing a good quality RCT and restoration, often a crown, giving many, many years of trouble free natural function. Where this is not an option we are able to offer implant placement by our surgical colleagues which we can then restore to the same high functional and aesthetic standards as all our other work.