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When you’re having troubles with your teeth, you’re often faced with two choices: yank the tooth via extraction, or leave it in and let Dr. Carolyn Yu perform a root canal to help preserve the tooth.

While neither of those is an ideal outcome, it’s good to be educated on the pros and cons of both situations in case you ever arrive in the dental chair faced with a similar choice.

When it needs extraction

If the tooth is completely dead – as in, the pulp (the living bundle of nerves and blood vessels packed inside the tooth) – then it’s likely going to be extracted. A dead tooth becomes brittle and doesn’t do as good a job as a living one does.

You may also need a tooth extracted if it’s infected to the point where the infection is threatening other teeth. It’s easier to extract one tooth and save the remaining teeth than trying to stop the infection.

When it doesn’t need extraction

A tooth likely won’t need extraction if there are only minimal signs of decay, such as small-to-mid-sized cavities. These can easily be repaired with fillings or a crown and don’t pose a long-term threat to your oral health.

Also, if your pulp is infected but it’s caught early, a root canal can eliminate the infection and keep most of your real tooth in your mouth. You’ll need a crown after the root canal, but the rest of the tooth will be natural.

If any of your teeth have been bothering you, or you want a second opinion on an extraction or root canal advised by another dentist, call us today at 510.974.2147 to schedule an appointment.