Root Canal vs Extraction: All You Need to Know

An infected tooth requires either extraction to remove it from your mouth or a root canal to repair it in place. Comparing the root canal vs extraction can help you to decide, but don’t take too long because a significant delay could eliminate one of your options.

Doctors for Extraction vs Root Canal

You must visit a dental professional for either an extraction or a root canal. However, whom you see will depend on the type of procedure you want.

Dentists for Extractions

All dentists can perform simple dental extractions. However, if you want to replace the missing tooth with a dental implant, you may need to go to a dental surgeon for the procedure. Not all dentists offer implant dentistry. Another option for replacing the missing tooth is a bridge to close the gap in your smile. Many dentists can accommodate you with either a fixed or removable bridge.

Dentists are the best choice when you need an extraction and restorative or cosmetic fixtures to replace the missing tooth.

Endodontists for Root Canals

If you want a root canal, dentists may offer the procedure, but you will enjoy a better experience by going to an endodontist.

These dental specialists went to dental school first. Next, they added another two to three years to their education to get their specialization in endodontics. Aspects covered in these extra years of education include:

  • Pain management.
  • Operating on the interior of a tooth.
  • Treating conditions that affect the dental pulp.

Since endodontists have extra training in pain prevention, you’ll have a painless experience, especially if the doctor has equipment and methods to improve your comfort. For example, our doctors use Gentlewave technology at Southern Endodontic Specialists to enhance their root canal treatment. This tool reduces treatment time and prevents root canal failure caused by infection remaining in the tooth.

Choose the right experts for your needed job and select an endodontist for a root canal.

Time Required for Root Canal vs Extraction

How much time do you have for the total process from your first appointment until you have a fully restored smile? The number of visits for extractions and root canals differs, depending on the amount of restoration you have done to your teeth after.

Extraction Time Required

The timeline for an extraction is very loose. You can have a tooth pulled anytime to stop an infection from spreading. The total time required for the process and follow-up may take longer than for a root canal.

You lose a part of your smile when the dentist pulls out your tooth for extractions. After 

the tooth is pulled, you may have a few days of severe pain. In addition, you must carefully control your diet during healing to avoid a dry socket, which can prolong recovery.

Additionally, after your gum heals from the extraction, you will then need to schedule several dental surgeries for an implant or visits to fit you with a bridge. These processes may require extra healing time, especially if you select dental implants.

Root Canal Time Needed

Root canal therapy does have a time limit. Once you have a diagnosis of an infection inside a tooth, you should not take too long to schedule the procedure. Until you have a root canal, bacteria inside the tooth will continue to eat away at the surrounding bone. If too much bone wears away, an endodontist will not be able to save the tooth with a root canal, and you must have an extraction. The time required depends on several factors, so don’t put off root canal therapy if you choose that option.

For a root canal, you will often need a single visit for the procedure itself. After your follow-up, you might need a dentist to fit you with a crown. However, none of these visits requires surgery, as getting an implant after an extraction does. The healing for a root canal takes a couple of days, and often, no significant changes to your diet during this time. You can even return to work on the same day as your root canal.

When comparing the time required for the procedure and healing, root canals cause less disruption to your life versus extractions and implants.

Cost for Extraction vs Root Canal

The cost often becomes the deciding factor for many people living within a budget. However, when looking at each cost, don’t only compare the initial costs. Look at the overall cost for everything to make an accurate price comparison.

Initial Cost

The initial cost of an extraction is often less than a root canal, which prompts many people to choose extraction. However, you may spend more for an extraction than a root canal after looking at the total costs.

Total Cost

When you lose one of your permanent teeth, the bone in the jaw that held the tooth will eventually erode. This bone erosion can cause a change in your face shape and appearance, especially if you have lost several teeth. Plus, the other teeth can move to respace themselves around the new gap.

To mitigate these changes, you will need a dental implant that uses a titanium screw placed in the jaw to replace the lost tooth’s root. A crown on top of the screw stands in for the top of the tooth. The process of getting an implant requires multiple surgeries, which add to the price of the extraction, pushing the total cost for an extraction higher than a root canal.

Root canals may only need you to get a crown after the procedure to strengthen the tooth. Since you don’t need an expensive dental appliance like an implant, root canals with crowns ultimately have a lower total cost than extractions.

Side Effects of Extraction vs Root Canal

Side effects for both procedures exist, though typically only rarely occur. If you have questions about the specific negative consequences of a procedure, ask your dentist or endodontist.

Extraction Side Effects

The most concerning risk for extractions is the chance of developing a dry socket during healing. You need to carefully follow all your dentist’s instructions after the procedure to avoid this painful complication.

Root Canal Side Effects

Root canals also have side effects and risks, but these are very rare. In fact, 93% of root canals are successful, and you have a fully functioning tooth after the procedure.

The biggest risk after root canals is reinfection, which increases in likelihood if you delay getting a crown over the tooth. Root canals weaken treated teeth slightly, and if you need a crown over a tooth but fail to get one, you raise the risks of cracking the tooth and letting new bacteria enter. As with all endodontic procedures, follow all your doctor’s required steps after a root canal.

Trust the Top Endodontists in the Tri-Parish Area When You Need a Root Canal

If you choose root canal therapy, visit us at Southern Endodontic Specialists. We have two offices in the tri-parish area that both offer the same exceptional services from our compassionate staff. Contact your nearest location in Houma or Thibodaux to schedule your visit.