Root Canal vs. Tooth Extraction: Making the Right Dental Choice

  • Sep 16 2023

Having a persistent toothache can be unbearable. At first, you might consider an extraction because it is the more cost-effective option, and it will provide immediate relief. Removing the tooth will eliminate infection, but it could jeopardize your oral health. 

The other option for finding relief is a root canal. This treatment is preferable because it saves the tooth, reducing the detrimental effects of an extraction. 

Every patient’s situation is unique, so having all the facts about both procedures is crucial before deciding which is the best choice for you. 

How Each Procedure Alleviates Dental Pain 

A severe toothache is often caused by an infection or irritation to the tooth’s pulp. The pulp is the innermost portion of the tooth that contains blood vessels and nerves. When this tissue becomes damaged, it sends pain signals to the brain. 

An extraction addresses the problem by removing the tooth, including the internal tissues. This procedure removes the nerves responsible for sending signals to the brain. 

A root canal, called root canal therapy (RCT), is a more conservative approach. Your dentist removes the damaged pulp and nerve. They replace the tissue with a special filling material called gutta-percha. 

Benefits and Risks of Root Canal Therapy

One of the most significant advantages of getting a root canal is that it is less invasive and allows you to keep your natural tooth. Other benefits of this treatment include: 

  • Eliminating temperature sensitivity 
  • Preventing the infection from spreading to adjacent teeth 
  • Maintaining your natural smile because your teeth won’t shift 

Although RCT has a reputation for being painful, they typically aren’t. Most of the pain people experience comes from the infected tissue. 

Potential Complications of Root Canal Therapy 

While RCT is a safe procedure, there are a few potential risks patients should be aware of. The root canal can fail if there are any bacteria within the tooth. However, your dentist should clean and sterilize the tooth throughout treatment. An overfilled or underfilled tooth also has a higher chance of failing.

Some teeth have multiple canals with the roots. These additional areas take time to find. Your dentist may not locate these other canals, leading to potential complications.

Benefits and Risks of an Extraction

Aside from pain relief, it may seem like there are no benefits to having a tooth removed. But an extraction creates a fresh start for a troubled area in your mouth and prevents additional problems.

Instead of having a weak and vulnerable tooth, you can have it removed. There are many tooth replacement options, like dental implants, that aren’t susceptible to decay. 

Potential Complications of an Extraction

The instruments used to remove a tooth can chip or fracture nearby teeth. Depending on the damage, these teeth may need to be repaired with a filling or crown. 

Some patients experience a dry socket because the blood clot falls out of the socket. This condition can be painful and must receive medical attention. 

After the tooth gets removed, you’ll have to consider a tooth replacement. It is a significant investment, but it is worth it to protect your oral health. Dental implants are often costly but will last you the rest of your life.  

The Best Choice 

Root canal therapy is the most suitable choice for treating an infected tooth for most patients. However, an extraction may be the best option when a tooth is severely damaged or decayed. Your dentist will thoroughly analyze your condition before recommending your treatment. 

Get Expert Guidance When You Have a Toothache

Payam Cohen, D.D.S, P.C in Forrest Hills, NY,  is here to help when you experience tooth pain. He is experienced in many dental procedures, like extractions and root canal therapy. Call our office today to schedule your appointment!

Categories: General Dentistry