PRO’S and CON’S of saving vs. extracting a tooth


When a patient arrives with an aching tooth, their first thought may be to “TAKE THIS THING OUT”! For some cases an extraction may be the only option; however, that is a decision that you and your dentist can make together. Making the best choice now could save you time and money in the long run.

Many times when a patient arrives with a constant, throbbing tooth, it likely needs a root canal. A root canal replaces infected pulp in a tooth’s canal and may be completed by your General Dentist or by an Endodontist. Once the root canal is completed, it is best to put a crown on the tooth. Why is a crown needed?  The tooth’s blood supply has been removed during the root canal and the tooth can become brittle and break. Often, when this happens the tooth becomes unrestorable and has to be extracted anyway. A crown will cover and protect the remaining tooth and help keep it strong to last a long time. This is an example of one scenario that can take place. Other options may be recommended by your dentist.

Some of the benefits of saving a tooth include:

  • Your tooth will still look, feel, and function like a natural tooth.
  • You will maintain the natural structure of your mouth.

Some of the cons of saving a tooth include:

  • The immediate cost of the procedure(s).

If you have decided on an extraction or your dentist has stated an extraction is the only option, depending on the location and surrounding teeth, replacement of the missing tooth is encouraged.    Replacement options for an extracted tooth include:

Your dental professional can explore these options with you.

The benefits of an extraction include:

  • The immediate cost of an extraction is generally less expensive than the cost of saving a tooth.
  • There are options to replace the tooth should you choose to do so.

The cons of extraction a tooth include:

  • The long term cost of replacing the tooth if you choose to do so.
  • Surrounding teeth may shift or move into the space where the tooth is missing. This can cause issues with your bite and oral hygiene.
  • Missing teeth can affect speech and your ability to bite and chew.
  • There is a risk of an infection at the extraction site.