Root Canal vs Extraction: Which is Best for You?

Root Canal vs Extraction: Which is Best for You?

If you are experiencing pain in your teeth, you may be wondering if you need a root canal or an extraction. Both of these procedures are designed to alleviate dental pain, but they achieve this goal in different ways. In this article, we will compare and contrast the two procedures and help you decide which is the best option for you!

The Difference Between Root Canals vs Extractions

Root canals and extractions are quite different from one another, with root canals being a more conservative treatment option for the tooth.

A root canal is a procedure in which a dentist removes the infected or injured tissue inside of your tooth. They are typically used when the innermost part of a tooth, called the pulp, becomes infected or damaged by dental decay. The goal of a root canal is to save the tooth, maintain its natural structure and strength, and allow you to keep your natural teeth. After the infected tissue is removed, a filling material is used to seal off and protect the remaining healthy tooth structure. Afterwards, a dental crown is usually placed on the tooth to restore its strength, shape, and appearance.

On the other hand, an extraction is a procedure in which a dentist removes the entire tooth from its socket in the jawbone. This procedure is typically done when the tooth is too structurally damaged or decayed to be saved with a root canal. In other words, the tooth is not able to function in the mouth as nature intended. The structure of your tooth can be compromised due to a variety of reasons, including dental trauma and decay. After an extraction, a dental implant or bridge can be used to replace the missing tooth. If this is not done quickly enough, the remaining teeth can shift, or your jaw could reabsorb and cause further damage.

When to Consider Root Canal vs Extraction

Typically, if both options are viable, root canal therapy is often the preferred treatment option due to its ability to preserve your tooth’s natural structure. Nothing that dentists can do is as good as your natural tooth. The main factors that a dentist will consider when deciding whether to perform a root canal or extraction are:

The Severity of Damage

The severity of the damage to your tooth will help determine if the tooth is a good candidate for root canal therapy or extraction. If the damage is too severe, and the structural integrity of your tooth has been compromised, then an extraction will be necessary. However, if the damage is not too severe, then a root canal may be able to save your tooth from extraction. As we discussed previously, root canals allow you to keep your natural tooth and maintain its original structure, which is always better for your oral health long term.

The Cost of Treatment

While cost is not a factor that impacts dentists, it does play a role in the decision-making process for you, the patient. The cost of root canals and extractions will vary depending on the extent of damage and what type of restoration is needed after the procedure.

Generally speaking, root canals tend to be more expensive than extractions because they involve more steps and require additional materials. However, after an extraction is performed, additional treatments such as dental implants or bridges may be needed, which could bring up the cost of treatment. If an implant is not performed in a timely manner, the remaining teeth can shift, or your jaw could reabsorb and cause further damage.

In the long term, a root canal is usually the more cost-effective choice since it allows you to keep your natural tooth and maintain its original structure without needing additional treatments. In the short term, an extraction may seem like the cheaper option. A full breakdown of prices can be found here:

The Potential Risks Associated

In addition to cost, a dentist will always weigh the potential risks associated with root canal therapy and extraction before deciding which procedure is best for you. For example, during a root canal, a dentist will need to determine the shape of your tooth’s roots. This is because the shape of your roots can determine how long and difficult a root canal procedure will be (in extreme cases, poor root canals may require root canal retreatment). In addition, there are risks associated with extractions, such as infection, nerve damage, and jawbone erosion.

Ultimately, the best way to determine which option is best for you is to speak with a dentist. They will be able to assess your situation and provide the best recommendation based on your unique needs and circumstances. This will be done through dental x-rays, which will allow your dentist to visualize the root canals and determine the severity of your tooth’s damage.

Remember That Prevention is Always Key

The best way to not spend money and time at the dentist and avoid the root canal vs extraction decision is to practice preventive care. This includes:

  • Brushing twice a day: You should brush at least twice a day to remove plaque and bacteria. Make sure to brush near your gumline and the back of your teeth. These are the most commonly missed spots.
  • Flossing at least once a day (recommended twice): Flossing can help remove plaque and bacteria from areas that your toothbrush can’t reach. Floss in a C-shape motion around each tooth, going below the gumline.
  • Using fluoride toothpaste: Fluoride toothpaste can help protect your teeth from damage. It does this by strengthening your teeth and preventing cavities.

In conclusion, both root canal therapy and extraction are viable options depending on the severity of your tooth’s damage. It’s important to discuss your dental situation with a dentist who can provide you with the most appropriate recommendation for your unique needs. Remember that preventive care is always key to maintaining optimal oral health.


The contents of this website, such as text, graphics, images, and other material are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be substituted for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Nothing on this website constitutes the practice of medicine, law or any other regulated profession.

No two mouths are the same, and each oral situation is unique. As such, it isn’t possible to give comprehensive advice or diagnose oral conditions based on articles alone. The best way to ensure you’re getting the best dental care possible is to visit a dentist in person for an examination and consultation.


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