How To Decide Between Root Canal Treatment & Tooth Extraction?

Posted on Posted in Endodontics, Oral Surgery

How To Decide Between Endodontic Treatment And Tooth Extraction?

Root canal treatment and tooth extraction are two very different dental procedures which will be advised to the patients who suffer from an infected tooth or severely damaged tooth that is beyond normal dental restoration (dental filling). Having a better idea of both procedures could help and guide you in making informed decisions when choosing between Root Canal Treatment (Endodontic Treatment) or Tooth Extraction.

When To Save Your Tooth (By Root Canal Treatment)?

Most dentists always advise to save your tooth (through Endodontic treatment) if the prognosis is good or acceptable. After all, retaining your own natural teeth for normal oral functions (such as speech, eating, & etc) and self confidence is our first priority! If your tooth is in a condition which is good enough to be restored and saved, you’ll want to restore and save it through an endodontic treatment (root canal treatment) instead.

When To Extract Your Tooth?

Ignoring your teeth for long duration could lead to severe teeth decay (dental caries) and weakening of the teeth, thus making them easier to break and might be causing serious dental infections. A severely damaged tooth is too weak to handle any sort of restorative treatment. In extreme cases, your dentist won’t be able to save your tooth anymore, this is the only time you will be advised for tooth extraction.

Root Canal Treatment – Photo By Original version by Jeremy Kemp; SVG conversion by Jellocube27. [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
What To Expect During And After Root Canal Treatment?

Getting a root canal treatment is not complicated at all. You will be visiting your dentist 3 to 4 times depending on the the status of your tooth and the progress of the treatment. The dentist will numb the area of your mouth where the treatment will be performed, next, a small opening will be made in the tooth being treated. Finally, the dental pulp will carefully be removed from the tooth. Then the root canals will be cleaned thoroughly to get rid of any bacteria or infected tissues. Once the tooth is clear of all the pathogenic microbes, the root canals of the tooth will be filled with root canal filling material (such as gutta percha) and then sealed with a dental restoration (dental filling) or restored with a dental crown in some cases.

You might feel a little bit of pain after the root canal treatment, however, this is considered normal. Not all patients experience pain, if you do, it is advised to ask your dentist what is the best remedy to relieve your pain while your tooth start its healing process.

What To Expect During And After Tooth Extraction?

If tooth extraction is unavoidable, and you’ve decided to extract your tooth, you can expect a painless experience at the dental clinic. The dentist will start by numbing the area carefully to make sure that you won’t be feeling any pain during the extraction. Then the dentist will use an appliance called dental elevator to loosen the tooth. Finally when the tooth is loose, your dentist will use another appliance called dental forceps to extract the tooth, you might feel a little bit of pressure while the tooth is being pulled.

When you leave the clinic, you will be given some gauze to bite against in order to help stop the bleeding. You might experience a little bit of bleeding in the first 24 hours. The best part about tooth extraction is that your dentists normally advise to eat ice cream to help in stopping the bleeding after tooth extraction. During your healing time, you should eat soft and cold foods, and try to chew on the other side of your mouth. You should also stay away from smoking or drinking alcohol during this time until your extraction site is completely heals. All the post-extraction instructions given by the dentist should be followed for a proper wound healing.

Generally healing time after extractions is about 1 to 2 weeks.

Which Treatment Is Right For You?

A quick consultation with your dentist will help you to make a more informed decision. The teeth causing you pain or irritation will be examined, an X-Ray might be taken to determine the condition of your teeth and your dentist will go over their recommendations with you. If the tooth is in a condition that is restorable, your first choice could be saving the tooth through a root canal treatment; if the tooth is severely damaged such that it is beyond restorable, you’ll be advised to extract the tooth instead. In either case, kindly ask your dentist if you have any questions about the treatment options, most dentists will be more than happy to answer any question you come up with.


Your Dentition. Our Passion.

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3 thoughts on “How To Decide Between Root Canal Treatment & Tooth Extraction?

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