Root canal or extraction?

One of my molars (2nd from the back - think #18?) had an old filling, but now it's cracked and 25-30% has chipped off. It's painful; food gets caught in it. Dentist recommended root canal... I'm considering just extracting it and getting an implant instead, b/c when I had a root canal on another cracked tooth, it failed and it eventually had to be extracted anyway. Need advice on this because my former dentist retired - this one is new to me, so the trust is not there yet. Thanks!

Doctor Answers 3

Root canal treatment or dental implant?

There are many factors that determine the success or failure of root canal treatment such as:  Has the infection spread to the bone?  How much of the tooth is left to support a crown?  Posterior teeth have 2 or more roots and therefore more root canals.  They are more difficult to access and more complicated to treat than anterior teeth.  They will require a crown to cover and protect them from undue stress.  If much of the tooth has been extensively damaged, a post may have to be inserted into one of the canals to help retain the crown.  This post can also put stress on the tooth and factor in to causing a crack.  Before proceeding with root canal treatment, I would have a discussion with your practitioner about expected longevity of the tooth.  Many people are able to retain their root canal treated teeth for many years or their lifetime, however, research has shown an increased longevity of implants over root canal treated teeth.


Charlotte Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Root Canal Treatment

Hello Molly, Thank you so much for your question. I really sorry that you have had a bad experience with a root canal. A root canal procedure is more important than you think, thats why you have to take care in the moment you select a doctor to do it. No every doctor qualify for doing a root canal, reason why i recommend you to go to an endodontist. Nothing is more important that keeping your own tooth in your mouth, nothing can replace a natural tooth and thats why it is important that people understand the importance of taking care about them and try to solve the problems of natural teeth with enough time. Here i attached a link where you can read and learn more about it,i personally  do not recommend extract the tooth and them replace it with an implant if can be possible to keep it. 
Good luck!

Yocasta Caba, DDS
Dominican Republic Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Extraction vs. implant

It's unfortunate that you had a bad experience with a previous root canal. Many teeth are successfully treated with root canals. Extracting the tooth and doing an implant is also a very viable option. It's also a very predictable option. I suggest going with your first instinct. If you feel more confident with extracting the tooth and doing an implant that is what you should do.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.