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Root Canal vs. Extraction

Root Canal vs. Extraction

You may have heard bad things about having a root canal, but you might also have worries related to having a tooth extracted. What’s the best course of action when you have tooth damage? 

Louis Russell Jr., DDS, at Russell Family Dentistry has helped many patients improve and maintain their oral health. When it comes to root canals and extractions, there are several important things to consider. Dr. Russell goes over them here.

The deciding factor

The main question in making a decision between a root canal or an extraction is whether or not your tooth can be saved.

A root canal is a procedure to save a tooth that is damaged or diseased but that is salvageable. It must have a viable structure. A root canal removes the dead or infected blood vessels and nerves — called the pulp — from the innermost area of the tooth. 

If your tooth is severely damaged, has a severe fracture, has a fracture that extends below your gum line, or has a very large cavity, we may not be able to save it. In such cases, extraction is usually the best option. 


An extraction is a procedure in which Dr. Russell removes a severely decayed or damaged tooth. First, he administers local anesthesia, or intravenous anesthesia if you need it, so you remain comfortable. 

Once the area is numb, Dr. Russell gently loosens and removes the tooth. You may feel some pressure, but you won’t feel any pain. It will take a few months for the site of the extraction to heal completely, so it will be important to take care of the area exactly as directed.

As part of your treatment, Dr. Russell can discuss tooth-replacement options, such as dental implants, which look and function just like natural teeth. If you’re missing multiple teeth, Dr. Russell may suggest fixed bridges or implant-supported dentures.

Root canal

With a root canal, Dr. Russell first numbs the area around the infected tooth. Then he makes a small opening in the affected tooth and removes the dead or diseased pulp.

Once the pulp is removed, Dr. Russell cleans and dries the area and fills it with a rubber-like material. He then seals the opening with an adhesive. In a few weeks, you come back for a second appointment where we place a permanent crown on the tooth to protect it and give it strength and stability. 

Your tooth may be sensitive in the hours and days right after your procedure, but it’s generally mild. We usually suggest using over-the-counter medications for pain, but, depending on the situation, we may prescribe medication.

Once your crown is placed and your mouth has healed, you can eat like normal. Furthermore, you take care of your new crown by brushing and flossing twice a day and going to regular checkups.

If you think you may need a root canal or extraction, we can help. To learn more, call 281-603-1911 or book an appointment online with Russell Family Dentistry today.

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