Root Canal vs. Tooth Extraction – Which is Necessary?

If you’re facing a serious cavity or cracked tooth, your dentist may recommend a root canal or extraction to resolve the problem. The severity of your injury will determine which procedure they’ll suggest. Let’s take a closer look at what these two procedure are so you can see how they differ.

Root Canals

A root canal is performed to repair a tooth that has been infected or damage. It does not remove the tooth completely. Instead, it removes the damaged part of the inside of the tooth and cleans the remaining part which is called pulp. A root canal procedure ends when the tooth is filled and sealed.


Tooth extractions remove the entire damaged tooth rather than just the defective parts. An extraction involves removing the injured tooth from the socket within the bone. If the infected tooth can be seen in the mouth, a simple extraction is performed. However, if it cannot be seen, a surgical extraction will be necessary.

While a root canal attempts to save the damaged tooth, the extraction completely removes it. Your dentist will perform a thorough evaluation of your damaged tooth to find out which procedure is right for your particular situation.

If they believe the structure of your tooth is compromised, an extraction will likely be recommended. In the event only the pulp is compromised and can be removed safely, a root canal is a good option because the bacteria can cause an infection will also be excised. If you have a cavity or crack in your tooth that extends below the gum line and weakens the tooth, an extraction is likely your best bet.

Contact River Run Dental

If you are unsure of whether you need a root canal or extraction, contact our Richmond, VA office. Feel free to call us at (804) 262-1060 to schedule an appointment. We look forward to hearing from you!