Dead tooth, should you pull it? Root Canal or Extraction

Root Canal or Extraction

Root Canal and extraction are two procedures that can be used to treat teeth that are damaged or infected in some way. It can be very difficult to decide, If you find yourself in a situation where you are to choose whether to save a tooth with root canal treatment or extract it. Both of these procedures are popularly recommended when a tooth has suffered from extensive amount of damage that it can’t be saved only with a simple filling.

The best thing to do if you’re to choose between the two is to familiarise yourself with the two procedures. Getting a clear understanding of the two procedures can help you to choose better. So, below is some information that I compiled in order to help you understand what a root canal and extraction actually mean.

What is root canal?

Root canal treatment is a good option if the living parts of the pulp are severely damaged or totally dead. During a root canal treatment, the dentist will create an opening in the tooth and clean out the damaged, diseased or dead pulp. After the pulp must have been removed, the empty cavity will be carefully cleaned to make sure there are no bacteria left behind.

After a thorough cleaning, the damaged pulp will be replaced by filling the empty cavity with “gutta percha”. However, since dead tooth are more likely to chip and crack easily, your dentist can only recommend root canal if the tooth is still strong enough. It’s also necessary that there should be enough bone and gum support around the tooth.


The root canal process should be painless when done the right way. Before the procedure, the tooth would be examined using an x-ray. The x-ray is necessary in order to confirm the shape and size of the nerve area. After the examination, the dentist will numb the area before he create an opening in the tooth. An opening is made in the affected tooth, then the diseased or dead pulp are being removed completely. Like I said earlier, “gutta percha,” is then used to fill the empty pulp cavity. A dental crown may be placed on top of the tooth to help restore its appearance and strength. (1)

In addition, root canal treatment is more complex and takes longer when compared to extraction. You would need to visit the dentist’s office multiple times for a root canal treatment to be completed. Although, the number of multiple visits may vary depending on the size of the nerve area and the amount of infection. (2) Well, you may need over-the-counter pain relief in between visits and after the procedure. It’s very common to experience pain and discomforts after the treatment.

What is tooth extraction?

Full extraction of a dead tooth is recommended if it turns out that nothing can be done to save the tooth. Extraction is a great treatment option if the tooth is too weak for root canal treatment. It can also be recommended for treating large cavity when there is no enough tooth structure to support a final filling or crown.


It can be really scary to have your tooth pulled out. Actually, you won’t feel any serious pain resulting from the extraction procedure, only pressure. Your dentist will first numb the area so you don’t feel any discomfort throughout the procedure. After numbing the area, the dentist will loosen the tooth by rocking it side to side with the help of a special tool know as an elevator. It’s normal to feel pressure while the dentist is loosening the tooth, if you feel any pain you should let your dentist know immediately.

After loosening the tooth from its socket, the tooth will then be extracted with forceps. After the procedure, in order to reduce bleeding from the extraction site, you will be asked to bite on a piece of gauze for 30 minutes. This will help in the formation of blood clot over the wound. After a tooth extraction, facial swelling and pain may occur, but applying an ice pack could be helpful to reduce inflammation and discomforts. Afterwards, you should be advised not to irritate your extraction site, it will take at least 2 weeks for the wound to heal completely.

Dead tooth should i get it pulled?

Well, your dentist should be in a better position to explain more on this. Advice from your dentist combined with the knowledge you have about the two procedures can be helpful in determining the right choice. Whether you should have a root canal treatment or extraction, all depends on the severity of the damages. If the affected tooth is still strong enough, you can go for root canal. Extraction is always necessary if the tooth is too weak and severely damaged, that is cannot be repaired or restored. After a root canal treatment, the dentist can still restore the normal structure and appearance of the tooth with crowns or other suitable tooth repair treatments.

Maybe, you are afraid of the pain and the longer healing time associated with tooth extraction. In most cases, patients try to avoid extraction because they don’t want to have a missing tooth. Well, that shouldn’t be a cause for concern, an extraction can be followed by a dental implant to replace what was lost. (3) You can check this posts to learn more on –

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