When infection reaches the pulp portion of the tooth which has nerve, then Tooth extraction or root canal treatment are the only options which are left to remove the infection. Pulp provides vitality to the tooth and has nerves, vessels and connective tissue present. To eliminate infection, patient has to make a choice between tooth extraction and root canal treatment.  If infection in the tooth is not treated, then it can spread to the ligaments and bone and may even cause serious complications like cellulitis and osteomyelitis. Patient has to make a decision that he has to save the tooth and get root canal treatment done or he has to get the tooth pulled out. It is always better to save natural tooth than getting it pulled out.

Root Canal Treatment or Tooth Extraction

Many people consider extraction of infected tooth a better option than root canal treatment. Root canal treatment is a better option than tooth extraction as it saves the natural, biological tooth and it is safer and less invasive than getting the tooth pulled out. Root canal treatment is tooth preservation procedure. According to some studies, it has been proved that root canal treatment is a better procedure for patient’s health than getting the tooth pulled out. With tooth extraction, approximately 68-84% more number of bacteria are released in blood steam as compared to root canal treatment. So root canal treatment is a safer option than getting the tooth pulled out.  

Many will consider tooth extraction to be a faster and a cheaper option than root canal treatment and will opt for it. Getting tooth extraction instead of  root canal treatment  may seem to be a better and attractive solution but if tooth extraction is done, then replacement of missing tooth will be required which will cost patient more than getting root canal done. If tooth extraction is done and missing tooth is not replaced, then adjacent teeth will move towards the missing tooth which will lead to misalignment of teeth and will further lead to various periodontal problems and can further lead to mobility of teeth. Missing tooth if not replaced can also lead to chewing and speech problems and will affect the esthetics. If tooth is extracted, then it should be replaced with dental implants, dental bridges or partial dentures.

After root canal treatment, dental crown is given to provide strength to the tooth structure. Tooth discoloration may occur after root canal treatment so dental crown is required to hide the discoloration.

Choosing between Root Canal Treatment or Tooth Extraction from Cost Perspective

Root canal treatment with dental crown will be more economical than getting tooth extraction done followed by replacement of missing tooth with dental implants, dental bridge or partial dentures. Root canal treatment will cost a person $600-$1000 depending on the type of tooth which requires root canal treatment and whether the procedure is done by a dentist or an endodontist whereas dental crown will costs around $650-$1000 for porcelain fused to metal (PFM) dental crowns and $800-$1700 for porcelain dental crowns. Simple tooth extraction will cost around $100-$150 and surgical tooth extraction will cost around $200-$350. Dental implants will cost around $4000. Dental bridge will cost around $700-$1700 per tooth so with root canal treatment and dental crown, you can save quite a lot of money. In addition to it, dental implants are not covered by insurance companies whereas root canal treatment and dental crown are covered by insurance companies.  So getting root canal treatment is more cost effective as compared to getting tooth extraction done. In long run, getting root canal treatment done is a less expensive method than tooth extraction.  

Some people prefer to opt for root canal treatment as compared to tooth extraction as they consider root canal treatment to be more painful.  No pain occurs during root canal treatment. Local anesthesia or conscious sedation is given to the patient before root canal treatment so that there is no pain. Root canal treatment is removing the necrotic tissues of the tooth, cleaning and shaping of the canals and filling of canals.

When to go for tooth extraction

If much of tooth structure is lost, that is there is not much of tooth structure left, then extraction is required. If tooth restorability is questionable, then tooth extraction can be done instead of root canal treatment. In such case, it is important to replace the missing tooth with either dental implants or dental bridges. If much of tooth structure is still there, then root canal treatment is definitely a better option than tooth extraction.


If you have to choose between tooth extraction and root canal treatment, then it is always better to preserve the original tooth. Success rate of root canal treatment is high and after root canal treatment, tooth can be maintained for long time. Even if failure of root canal treatment occurs, then patient can get re-root canal treatment done or can get Apicoectomy to remove the infection.

Undoubtedly, root canal treatment is a better option than tooth extraction in most cases.

Leave Comment


  • cheema

    cheema 18 - December - 2011, at 11:27 AM

  • Root canal treatment better. It is not painfull if it is carried out properly. I have two tooth since 1988 with it I had no problem

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