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Root Canal vs. Extraction? Opinions, Please.

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    Root Canal vs. Extraction? Opinions, Please.

    I had a crown removed this week because there is decay under it. It's tooth #18, which is the most rear molar on the lower left. When the dentist removed the crown, silver fillings, etc., he found the decay has eroded into the root & is recommending a root canal. I've heard quite a few negative things & health risks about root canals--bacteria getting trapped & causing problems down the road. Also systemic problems if the bacteria get into the blood stream. It will cost me ~$1,200 out of pocket for a root canal & almost $1,000. for the new crown. The other option is to extract the tooth, which my dentist can do w/o sending me to an oral surgeon. Cost might be ~$200. I can afford to pay for all the dental work, but I'm not sure I want to risk the root canal & possible complications down the road. I'm 74 y.o. My husb. is recommending I get the tooth pulled. What would you do? Root Canal or Extraction? (I've already read up on this on the web & in a dental magazine.)

    Please share your experiences of either procedure & whether the outcome was (+) or (-). Thanks.

    #2
    Re: Root Canal vs. Extraction? Opinions, Please.

    Just last year the root on my back molar cracked and a pocket of infection formed. ( I think I had had root canal done on that tooth many years ago, not sure) I took antibiotics, had the tooth pulled and then had an implant. All with no complications and just a bit of discomfort. And I am just a few years younger than you.
    "Never stop believing that fighting for what is right is worth it"
    Hillary Clinton

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      #3
      Re: Root Canal vs. Extraction? Opinions, Please.

      You might want to ask your dentist whether having the tooth extracted will have any effect on your upper tooth that "matches" it - is it bad to not have a lower one to meet? Does this make sense?

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        #4
        Re: Root Canal vs. Extraction? Opinions, Please.

        I have very bad teeth, as does everyone in my family. I have had six root canals, four extractions (not counting wisdom teeth) and two failed implants. The implants caused nerve damage and had to be removed, resulting in an additional year of corrective surgeries and bone grafts.

        Root canal surgery is routine and rarely fails. It will extend the life of your tooth and jaw for approx 20 years. Extraction is routine and less expensive. Complications are very very rare. You will loose surface area to chew your food, your teeth will eventually shift around, and you will loose density in the underlaying jaw. Your recovery time will be longer with an extraction, probably two weeks at age 74. Recovery time with a root canal, one day.

        IMHO at 74, if you are in good health, expect to live another 15 years, and can afford it, I would go with the root canal over the extraction every time.
        Stash Treasure Acquisitions Beyond Life Expectancy. My stash keeps me STABLE, oh yeah.... and dark chocolate.

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          #5
          Re: Root Canal vs. Extraction? Opinions, Please.

          I have, unfortunately, had several root canals including one on my next-to-rearmost molar. There is a world of difference between having the procedure done by an endodontist vs regular dentist but regardless, it is not a pleasant experience. For the molar in particular, my gag reflex kicked in and the endodontist had to stop several times to give me a break so it was a looooooooooooong visit. I have never had infections or significant inflammation following a root canal, and have never needed to use painkillers stronger than iboprufen (tho endodontist always wanted to give me vicodin.) Oh, and for the root canals I've had done the procedures were over 2 visits, not one, and then I had to go back to regular dentist for the crown, so the whole thing took a lot longer from start to finish than an extraction with no implant.
          Slainte!

          Liz


          :icon_pcnoob:

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            #6
            Re: Root Canal vs. Extraction? Opinions, Please.

            My first encounter was 35 yrs ago when the molar next to a wisdom tooth went bad. The dentist suggested a root canal but I did not have the money so I told him to just pull it. After he pulled it he said, "well that was a good decision, the roots were gone and we couldn't havesaved it anyway.
            I've had 2 more pulled. One capped, one a filling came out of. I wasn't as fortunate as you to have a choice. I just did not have the money to make any other decision.
            I am about your age and the extractions haven't really affected the way I eat and they are certainly better solutions than pain. But you are the only one who can really decide.
            Walk in peace with the Lord by your side.
            Terry

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              #7
              Re: Root Canal vs. Extraction? Opinions, Please.

              I've had root canals done by my dentist who is excellent. I never had a bit of pain or problem afterwards. With my first one dental guideline required me to take a prophylactic antibiotics before and after the procedure due to a leaky heart valve. However the guidelines from the dental association have changed and they don't require it any longer. However, my dentist said he would require the antibiotics for an extraction for a person with a leaky valve.
              Last edited by Cathy F; August 11, 2016, 09:36 PM.
              If you could choose to be anything choose kindness.



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                #8
                Re: Root Canal vs. Extraction? Opinions, Please.

                My dentist already discussed with me the possibility of shifting of teeth where there would be no "match" on the top. He said it might be an issue in 1 yr. or 5 yrs. or maybe not at all. That is the side I chew on the most, so I think I would miss the tooth, but I think I could live w/o it. I already have an appt. made with the endodontist for the 23rd. I have had 1 or 2 root canals in the past, so I'm familiar with the procedure. I remember I had swelling & pain & had to take something to help relieve the inflammation. I can't take Ibuprofen (reflux), but have other analgesics on hand that will work. I read on line to expect up to 2 wks. to recover from an extraction. I'm leaning toward having the root canal.

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                  #9
                  Re: Root Canal vs. Extraction? Opinions, Please.

                  I had the very back molar pulled. I had the option of pulling or root canal. Like you, I had researched the options. I am glad that I went with pulling the tooth.

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                    #10
                    Re: Root Canal vs. Extraction? Opinions, Please.

                    I have had several root canals. And I have also, more recently, have had implants. In my mind, both are better options to an extraction - if you can afford them. Once a tooth is removed, and it is not replace, your jaw definition changes. Not only am I vain enough to not want that to happen, I realize that it is not a good option for overall health.
                    If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you.- Zig Ziglar

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                      #11
                      Re: Root Canal vs. Extraction? Opinions, Please.

                      Personally I would have it pulled. I don't like and don't trust dentist and go only when extremely necessary. My teeth are not perfect but do what they need too. As far as shifting ...from personal experience it does not happen. The dental hygentist when I was in school many many years ago told my mom the space where I was missing 2 teeth (they just never came in) would make all my teeth shift and lay on their sides, and also the spaces between my teeth would cause me problems. So we went to the dentist to see what he said. He told Mom that my teeth would not shift and that I was better with small spaces as it would mean fewer cavities. To this day and I am 56 the space is still there all my teeth stand upright as they should and I have very few if any cavities in all those years. It all depends on your teeth. My Mom had soft teeth and had false ones in her early 30's. Mine are not beautiful but they are my own and work well. Unless you count the cold sensitivity.. LOL. Just my own experience and opinion.
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                        #12
                        Re: Root Canal vs. Extraction? Opinions, Please.

                        That tooth has been gone for me since I was 19 years old my wisdom tooth was coming in under it and I was in so much pain I could not move my head or shoulder. They had to pull that tooth to get to the wisdom tooth to cut it out. LONG surgery. But, I have never needed it that I know of.

                        I have had two root canals and crowns... Both done by the same dr... that my dentist sent me to. First time... He hit the nerve and sent me flying out of the chair... they had to wrap me in warm blankets to stop the shakes and calm me enough to numb it again... and better. Man... my husband had to stay and hold my hand. I was a mess.

                        But, the second time... in and out, I never felt a thing. I've never had a problem with my crowns. Not at all.

                        At my age, I certainly don't want to lose my teeth, but like I said, that one has been gone since I was 19.

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                          #13
                          Re: Root Canal vs. Extraction? Opinions, Please.

                          Good Luck with either decision.

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                            #14
                            Re: Root Canal vs. Extraction? Opinions, Please.

                            Due to a car accident several years ago, I have had both root canals and extractions (then an implant). In your position I would most likely go with the extraction. My husband faced this situation a few years ago and opted to remove the tooth. He has not regretted his decision. No one but him (and me and his dentist) knows he is missing a tooth. You cannot see it when he smiles or laughs and he says it makes little difference to his ability to chew his food. His teeth have also not shifted.

                            But you have to do what you will be most comfortable with. Good luck with your decision.
                            Courage is being scared to death, and saddling up anyway. ~John Wayne

                            Quilting is my passion . . . chocolate is a close second!

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