Do I Extract a Tooth or Have a Root Canal?

Posted .

Ever been faced with the decision to endure the stigma of having a root canal or just have the tooth extracted? How does one make such a decision? First, let’s ask these following questions to determine if the tooth can be saved:

1) If there is decay, is it at least 2mm above the crest of the bone?
2) Is there adequate bone support around the tooth?

If the answers to the above questions are yes, there is a good foundation for the tooth to be saved. Now, let’s look at the pros and cons of each treatment option:

Root Canal Therapy
– Saves and preserves the tooth
– Requires a crown
– Discomfort after treatment is normal
– The tooth can still get decay
– Preserves supporting structures around tooth

– Less expensive option but tooth is gone forever
– Will need implant or bridge to replace missing tooth
– Discomfort after treatment is expected
– The implant or supporting teeth after replacement can become infected
– The bone will resorb in the area if a bone graft and/or implant is not placed as support and replacement of the missing tooth

When deciding which treatment is best for you, make sure to have all the facts. Once a natural tooth is gone, it’s gone forever. If the tooth has adequate support of the periodontal tissues, a root canal may be the better option. If the decay is so extensive that the prognosis becomes too poor, then extracting and replacing the tooth may provide a better long-term solution.