top of page

Is it better to save a tooth or take it out?

Updated: May 25, 2023

When it comes to the question whether it’s better to save a tooth or pull it out, we could end this blog right here with an emphatic ‘yes’. After all, nothing looks, feels or functions better than your natural tooth.

However, let’s drill a little deeper to look at the benefits of saving a tooth versus taking it out. If you’re facing this decision yourself, and you’re looking for an endodontist in Selby or you’re unsure what to do, keep reading to find out about the options that are available to you.

Can a tooth be saved?

A good oral care routine, including brushing twice a day, flossing and limiting sweet and sugary drinks and snacks is crucial to help keep your teeth and gums healthy.

However, if your tooth is damaged, due to decay, infection or injury, bacteria that live in the mouth can infect the soft tissue (pulp) inside your tooth. If left untreated, the tooth will eventually die.

Root canal treatment is aimed at saving your tooth. While dentists provide root fillings, they may refer you to an endodontist, particularly if your case is complex. The endodontist will remove the infected pulp tissue, clean and disinfect the inside of the tooth and then fill the root canal to prevent reinfection. The tooth will then be filled and in some cases, a crown placed on top to make it stronger.

With a success rate of up to 90%, root canal treatment is generally very effective at saving a tooth. Treated teeth can last up to ten years, with some lasting as long as untreated natural teeth.

Is it worth saving a tooth?

Aside from the cosmetic impact, missing teeth can cause big trouble. The teeth next to the gap can shift into it, causing problems with your bite and making it painful to chew. Not only that, but the exposed gums left by the missing tooth make you more susceptible to gum disease and tooth decay, as there’s a greater area for bacteria to attack.

If you’re missing more than one tooth, it can change your facial structure and over time, even contribute to bone loss in your jaw.

The bottom line? If you lose a tooth, you’ll need to replace it. And dental implants, bridges and dentures are a lot more expensive and time-consuming than root canal treatment.

What are the benefits of saving natural teeth?

Saving your tooth, on the other hand, means you’ll maintain the structure of your mouth, your bone health and be able to eat, speak and chew as you usually do. Not to mention keep your natural smile!

Keeping your natural tooth will also give your neighbouring teeth and gums more protection from bacteria and cavities.

Root canal treatment is much more cost-effective and less time-consuming than an extraction and the subsequent work needed to replace the missing tooth. Root canal is usually done over one or two appointments, at around 60 minutes each time. And unlike an extraction, it’s

a less invasive procedure with a minimal recovery time minimal.

When is root canal not an option?

Root canal treatment is a viable option for the majority of cases. However, in the rare occasions

where it’s not possible, endodontic surgery can be an option before extraction is considered. Your endodontist will be able to advise you on this.

If you’re looking for an endodontist in Leeds, York, Selby or the surrounding areas, Dr Gahan is a registered specialist with over 21 years’ experience. You can book a consultation with him by emailing hello@finklehilldental or calling 01977 682 200.


bottom of page