Root canal vs extraction: Which is better for you?

May 22, 2024

Is your tooth’s nerve severely damaged or infected, and you are looking for treatment options? Well, modern dentistry provides two options: root canal vs extraction. Both these treatments aim to address infection and alleviate pain, but they differ significantly in their approach.

Keep on reading to find out “Root canal vs extraction: Which is better for you?

What is a Root Canal?

Treatment Length


As short as 6 months, with an average of 12 to 18


Average of 12 to 24 or more, depending on the type and severity of malocclusion

Can treatment be expedited?


Wear aligners for 20+hours a day, keep teeth and aligners clean, visit the dentist regularly to monitor progress


Visit the clinic as directed for adjustments, keep teeth and brackets/wires clean and free of plaque, avoid habits that could increase treatment time



Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste to gently scrub aligners


Use an interdental toothbrush and water flosser to remove plaque and bacteria from around brackets and wires



Keep teeth and aligners clean for best results


Keep teeth and brackets/wires clean for best results



Yes, aligners are designed to be removed while eating/drinking and while brushing/flossing teeth


No, traditional braces cannot be removed until treatment is complete, and the dentist is the only one that should remove them

Visits to dental clinic


Periodically, you need to visit the dental clinic to monitor your progress


Yes, you will need to visit the clinic every few weeks as teeth shift for adjustments

How much does it cost?


Starts at approximately $1,500 for up to 5 aligners and goes up to around $8,000 for unlimited aligners


Costs an average of $3,000 to $5,000+, depending on several factors



Virtually invisible




Does not require compliance- once braces are attached, they are not removable except by the dentist upon completion of treatment

Ideal for


Mild to moderate malocclusions, can be used for more severe along with attachments, depending on the type of malocclusion


Mild to severe malocclusions

It is a dental procedure designed to save a tooth that is decayed or infected. During this root canal procedure, the dentist removes the damaged or infected pulp, cleans and disinfects the tooth, and then seals it to avoid infection. This helps to relieve pain, restore the tooth’s function, and avoid the need for extraction. One of the benefits of a root canal is its ability to preserve your natural tooth, avoiding the need for more extensive and costly restorative procedures like bridges or implants to replace the tooth.

What is a Tooth Extraction?

It is a dental procedure that involves removing a tooth from its socket in the jawbone. This procedure is performed by a dentist or oral surgeon. Tooth extractions may be necessary for various reasons, such as severe decay, infection, crowding, or damage beyond repair due to trauma. The dentist or oral surgeon begins the procedure by numbing the area around the tooth with local anesthesia. They then carefully loosen the tooth from its socket and gently remove it.

Root Canal vs Tooth Extraction: Understanding the Differences


Root Canal Treatment

Tooth Extraction


It involves numbing, making an opening, removing diseased pulp, cleaning, and filling with gutta-percha, and may require multiple visits

Numbing, loosening with an elevator, extraction with forceps, minimal discomfort typically

Preservation of Tooth

Preserves natural tooth structure, integrity, and functionality; avoids the need for replacement options

Results in natural tooth loss may require consideration of replacement options.

Healing Time

Varies, discomfort usually subsides within days; follow-up visits for monitoring may be needed.

Typically, it takes around two weeks for healing; light bleeding swelling is normal for about 24 hours.

Post-Procedure Discomfort

Managed with OTC painkillers; severe pain warrants dental consultation

Minimal discomfort during the procedure; clotting, ice packs to reduce swelling

Long-Term Dental Health

Preserves natural tooth, prevents shifting misalignment, reduces risk of bone loss

May require replacement options to maintain oral health and prevent issues associated with tooth loss


The average cost ranges from $700 to $1,200 per tooth

Simple extraction: $75 to $300; Surgical extraction: $150 to $650; Costs may vary based on complexity and location

Aesthetic Considerations

Maintains natural appearance; may involve crown placement for added strength and aesthetics.

Results in tooth loss, aesthetic concerns; replacement options may be needed for appearance and oral function maintenance

Root Canal vs Tooth Extraction: What to Choose?

Your dentist will guide you toward the best procedure for your specific dental needs. Typically, dentists prefer saving natural teeth whenever possible instead of opting for extraction immediately. Therefore, unless the tooth is severely damaged beyond repair, they will likely recommend a preservation procedure like a root canal. Although root canals may seem more expensive than extractions, preserving a healthy tooth is usually smarter for your oral health in the long run.

When is it better to choose a root canal instead of extraction?

Dentists often advise going for root canals to save your natural tooth. But root canal vs extraction: which is better? Apart from keeping your smile intact and ensuring normal tooth functions like chewing and speaking, tooth extraction can have noticeable effects on your appearance. When a tooth is extracted, it exposes the underlying jawbone to potential decay. Additionally, nearby teeth may start shifting towards the empty space, causing changes in your jawline in as little as six months, which can make you appear older than your actual age.


When deciding between root canal vs extraction, several factors come into play, including the tooth’s condition, your oral health goals, and personal preferences. Root canals aim to save natural teeth, while extractions are considered when preservation is not possible. It is important to consult with a trusted dental professional for personalized guidance suited to your specific needs. 

Ready to make an informed decision about your dental health? Book an appointment online at Avery Dental Center, Dublin, Ohio. For new patients, take the first step by calling 614-683-9557, while our valued current patients can reach us at 614-789-9000. Let’s transform your dental health journey together!


Root canals are generally less painful than extractions. With modern anesthesia and techniques, root canals are often comparable to getting a dental filling.

A root canal typically takes one to two visits, each lasting about 60-90 minutes. On the other hand, a tooth extraction usually takes a single appointment lasting about 20-40 minutes.

A root canal preserves the natural tooth structure, maintaining jawbone health and preventing adjacent teeth from shifting. In contrast, extraction may lead to changes in jaw structure over time and may require replacement options like dental implants or bridges.

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