To choose to have a tooth extracted rather than undergo a root canal?

(68 Posts)
2kidsintow Thu 02-Jan-14 18:43:58

I have been to the dentists with a problematic molar today. Apparently the nerve is exposed and I needed to go back. Dentist said either for a root canal, or another option could be an extraction.

I'm opting for the extraction as the tooth continues to be a problem and has been filled several times and is mostly one big (ugly) silver filling when you look at it. I foresee the root canal as a v temporary thing.

I also am squeamish at the thought of the HOUR appointment that she said she needed to do it in. What a wimp.

WaffilyVersatile Thu 02-Jan-14 18:47:50


I have had 2 root canals and wish I had had the damned thing extracted.. Of course, now I cannot find an NHS dentist for love nor money.

itsSantanaLopez Thu 02-Jan-14 18:48:55

YANBU, DH had the same problem twice, unlucky bugger. Anyway, the first time he went through the root canal, it was awful. The second time, he opted for the extraction, and no problems.

Beccadugs Thu 02-Jan-14 18:49:38


The further back the less successful root canals are. I spend thousands on mine and it still gives me gip. Wish I'd had the bloody thing out!!

I had a root canal a few years ago, tooth very much like yours. It's still OK. I had the grey filling replaced with white so it's less ugly as well. I won't lie the root canal wasn't fun.

MrsBungle Thu 02-Jan-14 18:51:05

Yanbu it's up to you, but I had root canal and whilst not pleasant, it wasn't that bad and I'm glad I don't have a big gap.

sonlypuppyfat Thu 02-Jan-14 18:51:19

If it won't leave you with a noticeable gap have it out.

I've had root canal work done, 2 hrs work in total, I got a sticker for it as well, as the last 1/2 hr appointment was done without anaesthetic, the dentist thought I was a nutter and deserved the sticker. grin. I wouldn't have it done again and have had a nightmare of a tooth pulled because it just caused too much trouble to carry on faffing with it.

Yama Thu 02-Jan-14 18:53:34

My recent extraction took an hour. The dentist had shaky arms by the end of it.

It was the extraction of a previously root canal-ed tooth so that's probably why it took so long.

I had a similar thing a couple of years ago and on the advice of my dentist had an extraction. It has not been a problem since! I was very nervous about having it taken out and the sensations were a bit disconcerting but as the dentist promised, no pain. It was very near the back and healed nicely with no problems.

sp12344 Thu 02-Jan-14 18:55:05

I have six teeth with root canal work done on them, only had one fail. So I recommend you keep your teeth, if you have them extracted the gum tends to recede (eventually) and can cause problems with the teeth either side.

Hassled Thu 02-Jan-14 18:55:10

My root canal experience was absolutely fine - it took a hell of a while (apparently I have long roots) but I fell into a sort of trance-like stupor, listened to the radio, zoned out - and have had no problems since.

If you go for extraction, will there be a gaping hole? What will they do to fill it?

Wallison Thu 02-Jan-14 18:55:55

I am going against the consensus and would go for root canal. If it's done properly, you won't feel anything from the tooth again as the nerve will be dead. If you go for extraction, you will need something to plug the gap as surrounding teeth will move into it, thus weakening them also. It is, as they say, a slippery slope (quite literally). Do you really want to have a denture? Because that's what you'll need. Either that or an implant which costs £££s. Root canal doesn't hurt as long as the anaesthetic works. Extraction does hurt, and goes on hurting for days. Go for root canal.

IsawJimmykissingSantaClaus Thu 02-Jan-14 18:58:49

Have an extraction! I wish I had my tooth removed. Actually I did request this but was overridden as the NHS like to save the tooth. 2 years of appointments to get it done and it still doesn't feel right 8 years later sad

Ruprekt Thu 02-Jan-14 18:58:50

I fell asleep during my last root was so gentle, didnt speak, soft

Am having an extraction next week though. 2-3 days recovery!

I8toys Thu 02-Jan-14 19:03:35

Speaking from experience - I had root canals on my major molars at 15 so I am used to a dentists chair. If the rest of your teeth are fine - have it extracted. I have a gap from an extraction and it doesn't bother me - yet!

RaspberryRuffle Thu 02-Jan-14 19:06:20

I'm a TOTAL wimp at the dentist and when it comes to MIL but I had a root canal done last year. This was after a failed attempt by a dentist who was in a hurry to get it done and started before anaesthetic had kicked in. I ditched her, went to a new dentist, had a valium, had my ipod on, had a stress ball in my hand. I had written my address down before so I could show it to the taxi driver who would take me home. I didn't need that, I walked out of there, got the bus home and felt fine. If you trust your dentist and you can summon up the courage, go for it.

Mrsmorton Thu 02-Jan-14 19:07:18

Did that article win the orange prize for fiction? It's such complete bollocks. I would be lol if I wasn't in the bath crying

yetanotherstatistic Thu 02-Jan-14 19:11:43

Dentist did a root canal for me in the same situation and I had nothing but grief. He suggested that if it wasn't going to be on view all the time taking it out was a good solution. I had the extraction and although I am conscious of the gap from time to time I very glad that I had it out.

wigglybeezer Thu 02-Jan-14 19:12:50

I 'm another one who nearly dozed off during root canal. My dentist advised me to have the tooth out, mostly filling, bendy roots etc but I refused to admit defeat and another dentist treated it for me, it is still going strong years later. My sister, however, had root treatment which didn't work and ended up getting the tooth out. It's a gamble.

NaiceAm Thu 02-Jan-14 19:13:12

I had canal root surgery then walked back to work and within 30 mins of the surgery ending was doing a presentation for 30 people drooling a bit but otherwise fine.

steff13 Thu 02-Jan-14 19:17:51

I've had five root canals. I am happy with each of them. The last one I had done on an emergency basis when I was pregnant with my daughter. I wanted it extracted, but the dentist talked me into the root canal, and I'm glad I still have the tooth. I am a big baby when it comes to the dentist, but none of my root canals have been bad.

I had four teeth pulled out last year, and I have to go in a few months and have a bridge implanted in my jaw. shock

PolterTurkey Thu 02-Jan-14 19:19:41

I overcame dental phobia and hadn't been to a dentist for close to 20 years, needed a root canal done and it was fine, far far better than the extraction I had to have first, I finally had it crowned this year and it's fantastic. All NHS.

carabos Thu 02-Jan-14 19:23:55

YANBU. In a similar situation (cracked the very back molar giving myself a whack in the face with a ski pole) I went for extraction.

Andanotherthing123 Thu 02-Jan-14 19:27:57

I had root canal three times on the same tooth - twice NHS,once private, cost slightly less than my admittedly crap car, and took another 6 months to feel better. I then had a crown over it.Dentist told me I didn't need anasthetic for the crown as I had no nerves left, so I let him start and my hand shot up involuntarily with the pain, punching him in the head. We agreed we'd ALWAYS use plenty of anaethetic going forwards. Root canals didn't hurt at all, although I Instruct them to use plenty of pain relief and neck a load of codeine before I go.

cannotfuckingbelievethis Thu 02-Jan-14 19:29:37

I'm one of the unlucky ones. 3 root canal treatments (one of which was extremely painful) and all of them ended up having to be extracted at a later date.

I had bother with a molar during the summer and the dentist suggested root canal treatment. I said under no circumstances was I going through that again and she pulled it. Was pleading with her just to pull it without a jag (looney I know but I have a major needle phobia) but she gave me 3 and then it came out no bother. Not had any problems since.

I had a dodgy dentist in my early twenties and am still paying for all his cock ups.

MammaTJ Thu 02-Jan-14 19:39:03

YANBU, I did the same and even got refered to the 'special dentist' where I could have gas and air to have it done!

sykadelic15 Thu 02-Jan-14 19:41:23

I've had 2 teeth extracted (my very back ones, I have reflux and it damaged them) and it was a pretty bad experience. All the tugging, the bleeding, and the tooth often cracks just a little and you can end up with shards that have to grow out (both of mine had that happen). You can't tell they're missing at all which is why I had them extracted over root canal. Much cheaper and they were still in danger 'cause of my reflux.

I had a root canal last week. It took 2 appointments because I needed the tooth built up. The appointments themselves were fine. I was nice and numb and didn't feel a thing. Afterwards I wish I'd be warned I should pop some ibuprofen 'cause of the ache of healing but 2 days after the 1st appointment I was pain and drug free. The 2nd appt I needed ibuprofen just for that same day. Again fine afterwards.

I haven't got the crown on there yet, I'm waiting 6 months to save the money ($$$) which my dentist said should be fine.

My BIL had a root canal many years ago in Australia and has been having problems with his crown.

I opted for the root canal on this tooth (though FAR more $$ than the extractions) because it was a visible tooth and a bridge is more expensive. Though I will save the money and if down the line I need it I'll go with an implant, or a bridge or something and just have it extracted.

WhoNickedMyName Thu 02-Jan-14 19:44:22

I would always opt to save the tooth a d if that wasn't possible I'd have an implant put in to replace it ASAP.

rookiemater Thu 02-Jan-14 19:48:45

I recently had a tooth removed after 2 x 2hr sessions of root canal treatments costing £500 in total, turns out there was a crack down the tooth, so yanbu.

MummysPuppet Thu 02-Jan-14 20:08:27

OMG. I have the exact same decision to make following an appointment today. I have a filled tooth which has given me nothing but trouble since it's been done, must be a year or so ago now. The filling is close to the root and the root is dying off. Am complete dentist-pansy and cried at my lovely lovely dentist this afternoon. Tooth is causing sufficient pain now that I Have To Do Something. Apparently there's the beginning of an abcess there. I had a tooth extracted a few years ago now for a similar reason and honestly think I was in shock for a few hours afterwards. Added to which nothing in my mouth heals well - every time I bite my lip it turns into an ulcer, my gums get very sore and when I had the last tooth out I had to have antibiotics because it was infected.

Trauma of tooth extraction last time is pushing me to the root canal, however given my luck with fillings and mouth healingy things I feel like pulling the fucker out myself since it feels like it's probably an ultimate inevitability.

I don't know what to doooooooooooooo!
sad sad sad sad sad sad sad sad

BillyBanter Thu 02-Jan-14 20:15:23

I've had quite a few root canals and I don't find them overly traumatic. A mixture of success/failure long or shorter term.

I'd say it depends on quite a number of circumstances. visibility of the tooth. condition and number of remaining teeth. money. your age.

wobblyweebles Thu 02-Jan-14 20:25:31

Have a root canal but make sure you get it crowned afterwards.

ukatlast Thu 02-Jan-14 20:43:15

A root canal done properly by an experienced dentist/specialist using the correct equipment (rubber dam, microscope/loupes etc ) over multiple appointments if necessary and never in a rush with your tooth 100% infinitely preferable to losing a tooth that could otherwise be saved.

badtime Thu 02-Jan-14 20:50:33

YANBU, but I have had 2 or 3 root canal treatments (all premolars), and I have had no problem with any of them (although I ended up having one of the teeth extracted for an unrelated reason).

Do what suits you best.

TheSporkforeatingkyriarchy Thu 02-Jan-14 21:02:23

YANBU! My wisdom teeth have all gone funny, and one by one have been extracted with one left that really needs to go after trying to get on with root canals, but like others finding a dentist since we moved here has been impossible (seriously, this morning we found one taking patients but we had to go in to get paperwork, went in in this afternoon to be told they aren't anymore - try again in April - gah!).

LaGuardia Thu 02-Jan-14 21:37:18

YANBU. The trouble with root canal work is that the tooth starts dying as soon as the nerve is removed. One day, not far from now, it will rot and fall out of your gob anyway. Get rid now. And good luck.

wobblyweebles Thu 02-Jan-14 22:10:40

YANBU. The trouble with root canal work is that the tooth starts dying as soon as the nerve is removed. One day, not far from now, it will rot and fall out of your gob anyway. Get rid now. And good luck

Really? Mine was done 12 years ago and I have no problems with it at all.

LedareAnsley Thu 02-Jan-14 22:14:26

I've lost three back teeth because I was too scared of root canals. My dentist doesn't sedate for them and I've thanked my lucky stars after each extraction when I woke up with bruising on my chest and neck where they have pulled shock

Tabby1963 Thu 02-Jan-14 22:48:50

I opted for an extraction (molar) and don't regret it for a moment; a lot cheaper too.

I was due to go on a longish cruise a week later and the dentist could not fit me in to do the (considerable) work beforehand. She would have had to 'patch it up' in the meantime. Far too risky to be in the middle of the ocean somewhere with toothache.

I also agree with LaGuardia, if you have a root canal treatment (I do have one on a front tooth) you will need a veneer because the tooth will be dead and grey. Mine snapped off recently (after twenty five plus years though) and I got the root, which was fine, crowned (absolutely no pain whatsoever grin ). Good luck OP.

MummysPuppet Thu 02-Jan-14 23:00:04

Tooth doesn't die with root canal. So sayeth Bupa anyway.

"Root canal treatment can save a tooth which would otherwise need to be taken out. When a tooth is removed it can affect how you look and also how well you chew. Although your dentist will remove nerves and blood vessels from your tooth when the pulp is taken out, your tooth will continue to live. This is because the surrounding tissues provide it with the blood and nutrients it needs."

landrover Thu 02-Jan-14 23:04:48

The problem with molars s that unlike your from teeth, they have 2 or 3 roots which all (generally) have to be filled. There is also a high risk that the roots are curved which makes root canal treatment nie impossible!! So it is a hit and miss treatment. I would suggest that if you have a mouth full of generally good teeth overall, have the tooth removed (nine years a dental nurse, though not a dentist!) If you have a few problems with the rest of your teeth, then it might be worth trying to save existing teeth! As to a crown, not always necessary, don't forget that the existing bit of tooth that supports the crown will start to get brittle (lack of blood supply), eventually that will break down, with or without a crown! Obviously if this was a front tooth, you would do all that you could (and only one root is much easier) xxx hope this helps x

TeamSouthfields Thu 02-Jan-14 23:09:29

I.had mine removed.instead of.root canal

My mum once said that root canal is worse.that child.Birth!!!

issey6cats Thu 02-Jan-14 23:10:23

i went for extraction the dentist recomended root canal treatment on one of my back molars she did the first treatment wasnt too bad but the antiseptic she put in kept coming back at me in waves for the next two weeks, i was gagging, choking and couldnt eat for the taste of it and being as im a skinny who cant afford not to eat when she said another two to three treatments there was no choice i had the dammed thing pulled i would have died of starvation otherwise and was working 12 hour shifts in a busy kitchen at the time

landrover Thu 02-Jan-14 23:11:30

Mummys, i am going to have to look at that bupa statement, as far as I was aware, when you root treat, the nerve supply is taken away and the tooth is dead!!! Thats why they go brittle and often break off (thick is when you need a post crown instead of a jacket crown, very surprised at that pupa statement. Perhaps there is a dentist around that can clarify?

landrover Thu 02-Jan-14 23:12:15

Bupa statement, not pupa smile

mummratheevertired Thu 02-Jan-14 23:15:01

I had a tooth extracted 2 weeks ago. A molar, it had had a root canal for 10 years which constantly got infected and caused pain. Had it redone a couple of times and opted to have it removed. Dentist was really good and it took a couple of minutes to have it removed.

Filofax Thu 02-Jan-14 23:16:42

Please don't lose a tooth unless you have to. I've had a couple of root canal treatments and have had no more discomfort than I would with a filling, by that I mean of the initial needle for anaesthetic. It was no big deal at all. I have had a number of adult teeth removed in my late childhood due to overcrowding so this colours my view, but think the recovery from an extraction would be a lot worse than just waiting for numbness to wear off. I know others here had had problems but losing a tooth can cause problems in itself and is not a reversible decision.

HaroldTheGoat Thu 02-Jan-14 23:21:13

I am terrified of dental work, I put off going for years and had a root canal recently and it was FINE.

I would give it a try.

Depending on where it is.

Got to keep hold of pegs I think as we don't know what could happen to the others. thanks

WhereIsMyHat Thu 02-Jan-14 23:21:21

I had a root canal on a bottom, back molar which was fine. A year later I was in pain again and there was an abscess at the bottom of one of the roots. I decided to have it extracted rather than the fuss of a hospital repeat root canal. Ivan very happy with the decision although I suspect the fact there's a wisdom tooth behind helped as the gap seems to be getting smaller.

MummysPuppet Thu 02-Jan-14 23:21:30

I was surprised too landrover as that's what I'd always believed though I've no idea for what reason since I am far too squeamish to actually read about these things until I have to.

That's how I read it anyway, but happy to be corrected as I may be taking it out of context since I had to read it with one eye closed.

MummysPuppet Thu 02-Jan-14 23:23:08

Harold You make a good point.

landrover Thu 02-Jan-14 23:25:00

It is certainly a difficult decision with molars, as they are definitely more difficult to treat, absolutely we should all try to keep hold of them, but if you have a mouthful of other perfect teeth then its worth considering the time, pain, inconvenience, cost etc without a guarantee xx

wobblyweebles Thu 02-Jan-14 23:25:05

My mum once said that root canal is worse.that child.Birth!!!

I didn't feel anything when they did my root canal. I felt it sting a wee bit when I gave birth.

landrover Thu 02-Jan-14 23:27:11

wobbly grin

landrover Thu 02-Jan-14 23:28:27

Mummy, you are right, that is what it says (it is Bupa though!!!!!!)

Hawkmoth Thu 02-Jan-14 23:28:41

I had a party when my root canal tooth cracked and had to be taken out. That bastard caused me five years of pain.

landrover Thu 02-Jan-14 23:33:42

Hawk, thats the end problem with root canal treated teeth is that they go brittle (but obviously that can take some time!) That is occasionally what happens when you have a front tooth with root canal then jacket crown, some time later the patient will arrive when their tooth has sheared off at the base, that is when they end up with a post crown. Obviously you try to keep these teeth as long as poss, but outcomes tend to be not quite as satisfactory with molars.

Lilacroses Thu 02-Jan-14 23:53:03

I had 2 root canal treatments last year. I was dreading them but aside from getting jaw ache from keeping my mouth open that long it was absolutely fine.

SinisterBuggyMonth Thu 02-Jan-14 23:56:42

I'd rather have all my teeth taken out than have 1 more root canal in my life.

The pain I get is sudden and shocking enough to make me jump out of my skin. Doesn't matter how much anaesthetic I have, or which dentist does it.

For me, childbirth was a fucking doddle after going through that.

Hawkmoth Fri 03-Jan-14 00:07:32

Yes I probably shouldn't be so negative. I am a strange case in that I have an extra nerve canal in my molars, which the dentist missed and was only found after a year and a half of agony and strong prescription drugs.

I'm sure that's not normal and root canals can be a good way of preserving teeth.

Hawkmoth Fri 03-Jan-14 00:08:00

Three children after that seems like a piss of piss.

Hawkmoth Fri 03-Jan-14 00:08:32

*piece of piss

I still find it upsetting!

BumgrapesofWrath Fri 03-Jan-14 00:14:29

Having had both, I'd say YANBU!!

MrsGrasshead Fri 03-Jan-14 00:17:49

Well yes I've been faced with the dilemma three times. I regret the two extractions. Although a bit of an ordeal with the root filling, it wasnt as bad as I imagined, ive had it over ten years now and there's a limit to having teeth extracted. Work to save your teeth is my view.

WhatICallAUsername Fri 03-Jan-14 00:18:16

oh feck. Knew I shouldn't have clicked on this thread sad . Root canal and filling tomorrow. Woe is me

Beavie Fri 03-Jan-14 00:40:51

Yep have it out. Long story but I had 3 teeth removed in a year in 2012, including 2 wisdom teeth, and have no viable gaps. It was straightforward and quick, and didn't hurt at all when my dentist did it. Healed up quickly and I was good as new.

Beavie Fri 03-Jan-14 00:41:35

* visible lol

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