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Root canal or tooth extraction? How to decide

When faced with the dilemma of choosing between root canal treatment and tooth extraction it can often be a tough decision to make. While some people don’t wish to go through the unpleasantness of root canal therapy, removing a tooth is not a stroll in the park either.

Root canal or tooth extraction? How to decide


Both methods have their pros and cons – it’s just a matter of selecting which procedure will work best for you in both the short and long term. Most people already know what is involved in the tooth extraction process, but knowing more about root canal treatment can help you to make a more informed choice.

What is root canal treatment?

A root canal procedure becomes necessary when a tooth is found to be badly infected or decayed. Decay occurs when the tooth’s pulp becomes infected. In order to save the tooth, the pulp and nerve must be extracted. After the treatment, the newly uninfected tooth will be cleaned and sealed.

Before treatment, x-rays and tooth examination must take place to ensure that your tooth and mouth are both suitable for the procedure. During the treatment an access hole will be made in your tooth and it will be cleaned of all infectious matter. While known for being a painful procedure, many people have acknowledged that root canal therapy is no more unpleasant than getting a filling.

Root canal vs. tooth extraction

When it comes to making a decision, most people consider factors such as cost, pain, convenience and, of course, health. Dentists have widely referred to root canal treatment as the more highly recommended option, stating that it is much better to save a tooth than remove one. Many have stated that it is also cheaper in the long run. Some other factors to consider include:

  • Is the tooth visible when you smile? If so, it may be a good idea to save your tooth and keep a more natural smile.
  • Both procedures are not too painful if anesthetised correctly.
  • Root canal therapy is generally the more expensive option initially; however, a replacement tooth may need to be replaced as often as every seven years.
  • Tooth extraction will release more bacteria into the bloodstream, making root canal therapy a safer option.

Whichever method you decide to go with, both are safe and generally painless. Root canal is usually recommended by dentists; however, tooth extraction and replacement procedures are now very advanced and offer natural-looking faux teeth.