Updated: 3/04/2020 Root Canal Awareness Week is March 25-31 this year, and we’re debunking a popular root canal myth every day this week. MYTH #5: It is better to just…

What to Know About Root Canals

Root Canal Myth #5: It Is Better to Just Pull the Tooth

Updated: 3/04/2020

Root Canal Awareness Week is March 25-31 this year, and we’re debunking a popular root canal myth every day this week.

MYTH #5: It is better to just pull the tooth

Many people believe that the benefits to root canal therapy are short-term and will wear off relatively quickly. This myth was started by patients whose tooth broke months after receiving the treatment.

However, contrary to common belief, it isn’t the root canal that caused the breakage of the tooth. It’s actually caused by poor restoration of the tooth.

Because the removal of the nerve causes a blood supply shortage inside the tooth, it will eventually become brittle. A poorly fitted filling or lack of a crown on the tooth may cause it to eventually break. The actual procedure of root canal therapy, however, has a very high success rate. In fact, many root canal-treated teeth last a lifetime.

Why Save Your Teeth?

Regardless of whether people believe this myth or not, some people would still much rather consider the option of extraction in substitution of a root canal. But this isn’t recommended, as you should try to save your natural teeth if possible. No implant or denture is as strong and long-lasting as a real tooth with the root intact.

If you choose extraction, you will either be left with an empty space in your mouth, or you will be given a bridge or implant to replace it. However, neither option is superior to getting a root canal. Empty space can inhibit chewing, affect the way the jaw closes or even cause deterioration of the jawbone.

On the other hand, filling the empty space with a bridge or implant (which may not last as long) can also cause health problems, as there may be certain limitations on what you can eat. You may not be able to maintain a healthy and balanced diet, which will have negative effects on your overall health. In addition, having a bridge or implant placed adds a significant amount of time to the procedure and may often require several visits to secure the replacement tooth.

Does a Root Canal Weaken Your Tooth?

On the contrary, a root canal will ultimately strengthen your tooth for longer use and wear. While cleaning out the pulp chamber will initially weaken the tooth more, it is then reinforced with a metal post and crown.

Should I Get a Tooth Extraction or a Root Canal?

It is up to you whether you choose to extract or get a root canal, but root canals are typically recommended by dentists over extraction because of the lasting benefits as opposed to the risk that comes with extraction. Talk to your dentist about any questions or concerns, and he or she can help you decide what the best option is for you.

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See the rest of the series:

MYTH #1: Root canal treatment is painful.

MYTH #2: Root canals cause illness.

MYTH #3: Root canals are unnecessary if you’re not in pain.

MYTH #4: Root canals are a lengthy process.

MYTH #5: It is better to just pull the tooth.

  1. My sister has gotten around to see a dentist lately and she’s been suggested to get a root canal for one particular tooth they found. She hasn’t gone to finding a clinic yet because she’s squeamish about the operation, but I thank your article for pointing out that root canals actually leave teeth stronger than they were previously, and depending on the clinic they will add additional reinforcements. It also helps that you stated the high success rate of the procedure, as this was something my sister was anxious about. I’ll be sure to show her your article and help her look for a clinic that can accommodate her needs. Thank you!

  2. I had a cracked tooth; crack was running vertically top to bottom. The dentist (military type) that originally treated me (and placed the crown) indicated that I would probably eventually lose the tooth as the location and size/length of the crack was essentially one that could not be permanantly stabilized. Two years later I started having problems and a root canal was the recommendation (with a less enthusiastic statement that I might ocnsider having it pulled), however, going on what I knew of the crack (the previous dentist had been very informative) I knew the root canal would only be another temp measure; I opted to have it pulled instead and have had no issues. Am working on getting an implant rather than force a crown on the two abutting teeth to workj a bridge; why willfully damage two more healthy teeth?

    • Hi Lynn, that’s great that you didn’t have to get a root canal! Getting an extraction can often be done in place of a root canal; however, it is much riskier as health problems may occur. Depending on the severity of the condition, extraction may not even be an option. Your dentist can help determine if an extraction is a viable option for you. Thanks for reading!

  3. Root canal treatments tend to be an extremely effective method of preserving your tooth from an infection and in the long run removal. Together with today’s technology and resources there isn’t any cause to worry about a root canal.

  4. A root canal is oral surgery in which a dentist preserves a tooth that has become infected or decayed. The dentist extracts the nerve and pulp under the decayed or infected tooth. They then clean the tooth and seal it. If an infected or decayed tooth is not taken care of, abscesses may form in or around the tooth and gums.

    What do you think will happen if your dentist is not qualified enough to carry out the task?

  5. You’ve likely heard the term, “root canal” tossed around by your friends and family. To hear them tell it, it sounds like one of the most uncomfortable, painful experiences you could undergo. For some people it’s really bad. But I believe that there are very good reasons to opt for this procedure. If a dentist recommends it, you’ll probably want to go through with it.

  6. True! Although a tooth extraction may take a shorter amount of time to complete, it can lead to a gap where the extracted tooth was positioned; the gap can cause the surrounding teeth to shift, leading to crooked teeth that may be difficult to properly clean. Saving the tooth by this treatment is always a better option than losing it to tooth extraction.

  7. I know my Mom is missing a tooth and is going to have to have a post put in, then a new crown. It sounds extremely painful. So I agree, pulling the tooth is not the best option. It is always better to have your natural tooth than an artificial one.

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