I am 20 years old, uninsured and I need a root canal on a molar. What are the pros and cons of a root canal vs. extraction?

I am in need of a root canal on a molar and I know that dentists usually opt to save the tooth when possible but as a 20 year old without insurance it really is just too expensive for the treatment and crown. Would an extraction and a temporary partial like a nesbitt partial be a good option until I have enough saved for an implant or bridge? Or do the pros of a root canal and crown completely outweigh extraction?

Doctor Answers 5


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Short n sweet:  save the tooth if it is reasonably savable.  There are NO pro's to having savable, functional teeth removed.  Not even financial.  Sooner or later you will be looking at a bridge or implant, etc, and wishing that you had saved the tooth!

Orlando Dentist

Root canal vs. extraction

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There is nothing better than retaining your natural tooth.  In the long run its less expensive to have a root canal and ultimately, a crown.  Depending on the amount of tooth remaining, you may or may not need a post before the crown.  Have the root canal done, have a post placed (if needed) and have a filling placed.  You can then have the crown made at a later time when finances are less of an issue.  I am confident that your dentist would work out a comfortable payment plan with you. 

Murray Bruckel, DDS
Norwalk Dentist

Pros and Cons of Root Canal Therapy

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Theres no disadvantages on getting a root canal therapy done, in fact there are lots of advantages:

1. Preserve the tooth in your mouth
2. Maintain the space and position of your teeth in your mouth.
3. Keep the integrity of the sourronding periodontal bone  that will be lost if you get an extraction due to the loss of bone stimulation over the mastication process.

Disadvantages of an extraction:

To replace the missing tooth you will need a bridge.
A bridge needs to prepare the adjacent teeth to anchor the bridge.
Even having a bridge your occlusion bite relation will be lost in most cases.
bone loss on extraction site.

Jose Alonso, MD, DDS
Dominican Republic Dentist
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Natural is best!p

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Nothing compares to having your own natural teeth . Provided your tooth is restorable post- rct , which your dentist can assess, it is always advisable to save the tooth as opposed to having it removed. Replacing lost teeth may not always go according to plan and treatment might be complex. If possible, natural is best. 

I am 20 years old, uninsured and I need a root canal on a molar. What are the pros and cons of a root canal vs. extractio

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If the tooth is pretty sound and you only need a root canal and crown, that would be the most conservative and least costly way of restoring your mouth.
If the tooth is significantly weak, and not a good candidate for crown even after the root canal, then extraction may be the alternative treatment you might want to consider.
It sounds like you are having financial issues, so be aware that an extraction and fixed bridge or extraction,implant,abutment and crown will both cost much more than the root canal and crown.
Yes, of course you could have the tooth extracted and utilize a nesbitt partial until you're ready for the implant. It's your mouth, the choices are yours.  I advise following the recommendations of your dentist.  He is the best one to evaluate your problem and unique situation and best direct you in the best way to address your problems.
By the way, don't hold your breath about dental insurance.  Even those who still have it are finding that their benefits are decreasing almost yearly.  Oftentimes they won't cover implant treatments or fixed bridges unless the tooth is extracted while on their dental plan. Another reason why trying to save the tooth with root canal and crown may be the best way for you.

Norman Huefner, DDS
Laguna Niguel Dentist

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.