Pull out my tooth vs Save my tooth

Updated: Oct 8, 2018

You know your tooth is in trouble and may need to be removed. But what about the option of saving the tooth with Root Canal Treatment? Here are some pro's and cons to help weigh up your choice.

Feeling tooth with tongue
Am I going to miss this tooth?

Save it: Root Canal Therapy

Root canal treatment before and after


  • The tooth has an extended life span.

  • Minimal trauma to the area as the tooth is not being extracted.

  • Other teeth will keep their place, allowing normal chewing to continue.

  • The procedure can often be completed in one to two visits.


  • This procedure costs more than an extraction. A crown is often advised which is an additional expense. Crowns can be deferred to a later date, however.

  • A long appointment of 90 minutes is usually required. Plenty of anaesthetic is used.

  • Not all treatments are successful. The aim being to keep the tooth for longer, not necessarily forever. Ask your dentist for the estimated success rates. A failed root canal treatment may be referred then onto a specialist at an additional fee, or the tooth may be extracted.

  • The tooth may feel different to the other teeth, or it may not. (ie different sensation on tapping).

  • The tooth may discolour or turn dark. This can be corrected with a crown.

If root canal therapy is chosen, there is no need to consider tooth replacement options. However a crown is usually advised.

Lose it: Extraction


  • Quick relief of intense toothache.

  • The tooth is gone for good.

  • Most cost effective way for immediate pain relief.


  • Permanent loss of the tooth.

  • Sometimes surgery is required for difficult roots.

  • There will be some discomfort or pain during healing (weeks).

  • There will be less teeth to chew with which will create more load for the remaining teeth.

  • Chewing may defer to one side of the mouth creating joint stress or pain.

  • Other teeth may move, creating unfavourable gaps and food trapping, resulting in decay.

If extraction is the choice, there are options on how to fill the gap in the future. This will help prevent drifting, leaving open gaps and food traps.

1. Leave the gap there and risk teeth drifting about. This may increase the rate of decay.

2. A dental implant. A screw-in tooth is placed surgically. This is often the best option.

3. A dental bridge. A false tooth is permanently connected to the neighbouring teeth.

4. A removable partial denture. The cheapest alternative.