When you have irreversible decay eating away the root of a tooth, there are at least two ways to solve the problem: you can get a root canal or you can have the tooth completely removed. To help you choose between the two, here are the pros and cons of both procedures.

Root Canal

The phrase “root canal” is enough to make anyone cringe—even if they don’t know exactly what such a procedure entails. Unfortunately, knowing the details of the operation don’t make it sound any better. Thank goodness for anesthesia!

During a root canal, the dentist removes all the infected or decayed tissue in the center or lower part of the tooth—the root. Here are the pros and cons to this method of dealing with deep-rooted decay (pardon the pun).

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Perhaps one of the greatest advantages to root canals is that they allow you to keep your natural tooth. You don’t have to get in implant, a bridge, or live with a gap in your teeth. Preserving the natural tooth—and its structure—is more comfortable than getting used to a replacement—especially when it comes to chewing your food.

Root canals are typically more expensive than extraction procedures at first. However when you factor in the cost of replacing the extracted tooth, a root canal may seem the most economic answer (source: Brantford Mall Dental Office a dentist in Barrie).


One disadvantage of root canals is that they may not permanently solve the problem. Think of a bad tooth like a flower that has a fungal infection. A root canal is like anti-fungal medicine you feed to the plant. It might work, but it definitely won’t work as well as uprooting the flower and replacing it with a new one.

If you are concerned with the effectiveness of a root canal procedure, ask your dentist’s opinion. He or she will help you decide if a tooth extraction would be a better fix.

Tooth Extraction

If the idea of a root canal is just too much for you to bear, you have another option—take the tooth out completely. Extraction procedures range from simple to complex, depending on the state of the tooth that needs to be removed. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of this option.



Tooth extractions are permanent—they get rid of the problem, not just the symptoms. There are plenty of horror stories about people who have gotten root canals and had to get the tooth extracted anyway sometime down the road. If your tooth has extensive damage, an extraction may be your best bet.

Tooth extractions are typically faster and less painful than root canals. The actual tooth-removing procedure costs less than a root canal as well.


When you remove a tooth, it leaves behind another problem to deal with—a gap. You then have to replace the tooth with a bridge or dental implant. Some patients choose to do nothing and just live with the gap, but that could cause the surrounding teeth to shift around and become crooked. Whether you replace the tooth or leave the gap, you will have to get used to talking and eating with the change in your teeth.

Dealing with a problem tooth is painful and inconvenient. Talk to your dentist about which procedure he recommends, weigh the pros and cons of each option, and set up an appointment to take care of that bad tooth for good.

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