Dental Health Expert Forum
Root canal vs Extraction
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Questions in the Dental Health forum are answered by Dr. Jerome Tsang. Topics covered include bridges, cavities, crowns, and x-rays.

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Root canal vs Extraction

Two years ago I had a front tooth filled. Within a week I had discomfort which turned into horrible pain. The dentist told me it was normal, followed by a letter stating they would no longer have me as a patient and cancelled my future appointments. I faint from needles and it's not the first time I have been turned away. 6 months later the pain stopped and I forgot about it. Apparently the pain was an abscess that was very slow and just came to a head recently. I developed a pus bubble last month, and more and more a dull ache/pain. Dentist wants to do a root canal but I feel like it's been there too long to not extract it. I'm not concerned about missing a front tooth, but don't see the point of doing a costly root canal if it's likely to fail. Opinions??
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If done properly, the success rate of a root canal can be quite high.  It could be as high as a 90% chance of success.  An implant has roughly the success rate if you want to go that route.  An extraction would remedy the situation also but then you'd need to replace it.  If not an implant, then you're looking at a bridge which has a lower chance of success or a flipper/stayplate or false teeth that you have to remove and clean at night.
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Replacing the tooth can be just as costly as saving it with a root canal.  As Dr. Tsang mentioned, root canals have a very high success rate.  Unless a tooth is not restorable, it is better to save it if it is at all possible.
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