Root Canal vs. Tooth Extraction:  What’s the Difference?


When a tooth gets damaged, a dentist will often use two common procedures to fix the oral issue – a root canal or tooth extraction. Learning how each procedure works could help you make an informed decision if faced with these choices. Do you need a root canal, or do you need a tooth extraction? Though they’re often lumped together, they are very different procedures.

Although comparing a root canal vs. extraction can prove to be a difficult decision, learning more about both methods can help you choose. Learn More HERE.

Root Canals Explained

The most basic way to explain the difference between a root canal and a tooth extraction is that a root canal keeps the original tooth. Your dentist will decide that your tooth still has a high chance of recovering and is still living, and so a root canal is performed.

Infection causes and symptoms:

  • A severe cavity
  • Cracked tooth
  • Prolonged pain
  • Pimples on gums
  • Swollen gums
  • Tender gums
  • Deep decay
  • Temperature sensitivity

During a root canal, you will be numbed so you hardly feel a thing. Your dentist will then make a small incision to access the inside of your tooth. Once there, your dentist will clean out the area and remove any bacteria and decay. Then, antibiotics are applied to keep the area clean and healthy. Once that’s done, a crown will be placed over the tooth to restore strength and durability.

What is a root canal? Root canal treatment is designed to eliminate bacteria from the infected root canal, prevent reinfection of the tooth and save the natural tooth. When one undergoes a root canal, the inflamed or infected pulp is removed and the inside of the tooth is carefully cleaned and disinfected, then filled and sealed. Learn More HERE.

Tooth Extractions

When we think of tooth extractions, we may often think of wisdom teeth. While this is a common procedure, there are sometimes other reasons for tooth extractions. Unlike root canals, during a tooth extraction, the tooth afflicted does not remain in the mouth. It is completely removed.

Similar to root canals, the reasons for a tooth extraction are often caused from excessive decay and bacteria in the tooth. There are two types of dental extractions:

  1. A simple extraction: You’ll be numbed for this procedure so you don’t feel anything. You will still experience some pressure, but not any pain. Your dentist will loosen the tooth and then remove it.
  2. A surgical extraction: This usually involves anesthesia, so you’ll feel calm and may be unconscious for the procedure. The surgeon will then remove the tooth by using a small incision in the gums.

After a tooth extraction, you will need to give your mouth two weeks to heal and need to be gentle when you brush your teeth.

It normally takes a few days to recover after a tooth extraction. The following steps help ensure that your recovery goes smoothly. Learn More HERE.

Are You Experiencing Tooth Pain? Luff Dental Can Help.

Pain is your body’s way of letting you know something isn’t right. It’s almost like an internal flashing warning sign. So, when you experience a toothache, your mouth is telling you know that it’s time to take a look to find out what’s wrong. Let’s dive into the main reasons you may experience a toothache, and what do about it. At Luff Dental, we’ve got your toothaches covered. We offer emergency dental appointments so we can treat your toothache quickly and proficiently!  We’ve outlined the top 5 reasons you may be experiencing tooth pain HERE.


Whether you need to schedule a dental exam or are interested in treatment options available to enhance your smile, we invite you to work with Dr. Luff and her team to find the most effective solution for you! Luff Dental is always accepting new patients in the Lee’s Summit, MO and surrounding area who are ready to improve the health of their teeth, their confidence and smile!  Please call Luff Dental at (816) 875-3391 to schedule your appointment.