Root canal vs. tooth pulling: Which is healthier?


Fact Box

  • Root canals and tooth extractions are among the most administered procedures for treating tooth pain.
  • The average cost of a root canal is between $500 to $1,000, whereas the average cost of a tooth extraction is around $200. However, additional costs can follow tooth extraction as a dental bridge or implants are highly recommended to keep teeth from shifting.
  • Root canals are believed to save the natural tooth and eliminate the chance of reinfection by removing the inflamed or infected pulp from the canal.
  • Tooth extraction is the only option if a tooth is severely infected, cracked beyond repair, or decayed down to the bone.

Elisa (Tooth pulling)

While root canals are a popular solution to a common dental issue, they can be dangerous and may not solve the problems in your mouth entirely. The 'whole problem' is handled with tooth extractions, including removing the infected tissue and the nerve responsible for the pain. That is the root of the problem with a root canal—it may not eliminate the whole problem and leave behind viruses and bacteria that can spread and multiply in the space in and around the tooth. With root canals, there is no way to completely remove all the dead tissue, eventually causing problems downstream. This means that leftover material can spread to other areas in the body and cause harm by bacterial infection later. 

Unfortunately, root canals are often a temporary solution to a problem, as people end up getting their teeth pulled anyway, even after they already spent a great deal of money on an initial operation. With a tooth extraction, you never have to worry about being reinfected and there is only one appointment, and they are much less expensive

People may worry about having gaps in their mouth after a tooth extraction, but these days, there are many cost-effective solutions, such as immediate or temporary dentures. Most of the time, the teeth that get infected and pulled are molar teeth in the back of the mouth and are not noticeable. 

Unfortunately, there are many hidden dangers to root canals that dentists may not advertise. The 'leakage' from a root canal can lead to chronic disease and inflammation later in life, meaning a temporary fix, like what a root canal is, may cause long-term problems. When it comes to deep damage to your teeth, it's best to lose the tooth and save some money. 

James (Root canal)

Root canals are a routine dental procedure that often gets a bad reputation, but they offer several significant benefits over tooth extraction. One of the primary advantages of root canals is the preservation of natural teeth. This procedure allows dentists to remove infected or damaged pulp within the tooth while keeping the outer structure intact. Another critical benefit of root canals is the preservation of jawbone integrity. When a tooth is extracted, the underlying jawbone can deteriorate over time, leading to structural changes in the face and potential oral health issues. In this way, root canals also help maintain the continuity of your smile. Tooth extraction can leave unsightly gaps in your dental arch, affecting your appearance and leading to the potential shifting of adjacent teeth. Some individuals turn to dental implants or bridges to avoid these issues, which can be costly and involve possible complications.

Furthermore, retaining natural teeth through root canals is crucial in maintaining optimal chewing and speech functionality. Your natural teeth are uniquely designed for efficient biting and pronunciation; losing them can impact your quality of life. Root canals allow you to keep these essential functions intact without the need for artificial replacements. While the initial cost of tooth extraction may seem cheaper, root canals' long-term financial and health benefits are undeniable. Dental implants, often chosen to fill the gaps left by extracted teeth, can lead to complications such as infections and damage to the gum area, resulting in higher costs and potential discomfort.

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