Is tooth extraction to be avoided at all costs?

Background I had a tooth next to the incisors towards the back of my mouth that had a cavity one the back “prong”(I am using my own, non dentist terms) which I had filled.

Fast forward and apparently the filling was faulty or the tooth was worse than appeared because when eating some tortilla chips the “prong” with the filling shattered and broke, leaving only the front “prong”. Some months later either due to decay or the shattering suddenly if certain kinds of suction were generated in my mouth there would be insane debilitating pain from the tooth. I made liberal use of generic anbesol(benzocaine gel) until I could get to a dentist. There was no swelling or abscess or general tooth ache that I could tell, only sharp pain during odd mouth suction which felt like the pulp was being sucked out the tooth.

After digital xrays the dentist advised the options were either extraction or root canal, extraction was 80 USD and root canal 350 USD and would require four separate visits and procedures at the least. And this would not include cosmetic work like a crown which would be additional $$$$, only the RC.

I sick of the tooth and pain and due to the fact based on my face shape even when smiling it would not be visible opted for extraction. Went fine and healed fine.

But now months later I find chewing rather awkward, and sometimes hard foods are painful poking into the gum where the tooth was, although cosmetically it is fine even when I smile.

I’m wondering since I have other problem teeth whether to get a root canal at all costs or to opt for further extractions should they go downhill AKA filling failing or shatterings. Will things only get worse or will I get used to chewing with the missing tooth or the gum less sensitive?

This doesn’t quite parse as the incisors are the teeth right at the very front.

I have had two teeth extracted.
Maybe the first was a bit hasty, and in retrospect didn’t need to come out, but the other was a problem tooth. Neither gap/gum has given me any significant problems in the 15 years or so since.

The gum toughens up somewhat, and since there’s rarely any pressure applied there, I can’t recall ever having any pain or needing to be careful how I eat (except obviously the first few days after the extraction).

Nowadays I think dentists will usually advise you to fill the gap with a crown; with one of the reasons being that the other teeth may “fall in” to the gap.
I would say IME this is overblown somewhat: after 15 years there’s maybe a tooth that’s shifted by half a millimetre (I’m only aware of that, because food can sometimes get stuck in front of that tooth whereas it was not possible before), so we’re hardly talking a tectonic shift.
Nonetheless, I’m considering getting the gaps filled.

No, tooth extraction should be avoided in general, but you have to make a reasonable evaluation of the actual costs, the amount of pain you will have to tolerate in treatment, and how long the repaired tooth will last. My experience tells me it’s not worth getting a root canal unless the tooth is otherwise in great condition.

Pretty much this, though I’d probably take more measures to save a tooth than **Tripolar **might. My experience has not been as positive as Mijin’s. Once I lost that first tooth it was like a domino effect. I now have no molars up top and am wearing braces for the second time in my life.:frowning:

I’d add in as a factor your ability to afford an implant. For any tooth not likely to last many many years after repair you should just get it extracted and replace it with an implant if you can afford it.

If you get a tooth extracted, your other teeth may well shift and this will change your bite, which is generally a bad thing. Getting an extraction may be a better option than a root canal in many cases, as they are problematic in their own right, but ideally you will be following it up with an implant, which is even more expensive.

Sometimes it can’t be. I had a tooth extracted last October and another this last March. In both cases I was told that extraction was the only real option. In both cases I felt pain any time pressure was put on the tooth. In the first tooth’s case it was infected in a way that all the “experts” told me was not possible to fix. Hence the call to extract it. In the second one a root canal procedure was attempted but upon doing so the endodontist discovered that that tooth was victim of something called “resorption” and told me that, again, the only real course of action was to have it removed. I had my wisdom teeth extracted when I was still in high school so now I’m down 6 from my “allotted” number of teeth. Very disappointing.

I plan to have the one tooth (the one that used to be in my lower jaw), at least, replaced, but I haven’t yet gotten around to taking action on that.

I’ve had some root canals that have failed. In retrospect, I would have had the extraction and opted for an implant, which lasts pretty much for a lifetime. If I total the costs of the excavation for the RC and the crown, and the replacement crown that I needed when the first one broke, I spent about 6,000 dollars for a freaking molar. Oh, wait, add in 395 to extract the bastard when the final crown shifted and the rest of the tooth decayed and developed an abscess. And the pain…

Dentist here. Avoid extraction “at all cost”, of course not. In general it is usually better to save a tooth then extract it but there are a lot of things to consider. Cost differential, time involved for treatment, expected longevity of restoration, personal preference and consequences of restoring v. removal are some things to consider.

Same things go for consideration of replacement of extracted teeth.

$80 for extraction and $350 for a root canal. Those would be very low cost everywhere that I know.

I had all 4 wisdom teeth yanked out (one at a time, not all in one appt). I have now had the last molar on each quadrant yanked as well. 2 went bad, 1 had a root canal but broke anyway (probably too far gone) and the last one was aggrevating my tongue (I actually had a piece of my tongue surgically removed) so that one was yanked and Viola, no more tongue issues.

Getting them yanked was the correct decision and no further issues. I’m 45 and everything seems to be working well. I had never really heard of the extraction being a last resort type issue.

My experience is a little like yours. I never had wisdom teeth. When my 12 year molars came in, it was horrible - it really didn’t feel like there was even room in my mouth for them. I bit a dime-size chunk of my cheek out with the new molars, that’s how tightly crammed things were.

In my 30s a piece of one 12-year molar cracked off, and for years I listened to dentists who went through ridiculous steps to save the tooth, then when the restorations kept falling off (and another chunk of the tooth fell off) and I lost the tooth, they did an implant (but because my mouth is so tiny and the spot was in the back, they had to use a smaller than normal post). The implant also failed and FINALLY they agreed just leave it be, which I had been begging them to do for ages. What a relief - after several years of inconvenience, pain, and money spent.

Now the same process has begun with another of the 12 year molars. I went in and said “please extract this tooth” and they insisted it wasn’t necessary, they could do whatever cap/crown thing it is that they do now.

Of course, it fell off at the start of my vacation and I am now waiting to get home to the dentist. I will tell her she either extracts the tooth and we just leave it alone, or I find a new dentist.

The thread title reminded me of a thread from the past where the OP asserted that extractions cause cancer, or death, or something.

I don’t THINK I hallucinated that. Anybody else remember?

Gah I meant canine tooth, sorry bout that.

The cost wasn’t so much a factor as the four separate visits at least, and the fact the tooth was a problem and I saw root canals can last as little as five years. But the awkward chewing had me reconsidering.

But then I had people saying stuff like do anything to save a tooth.

As for the cost hey at least there is one benefit to living outside the US,cheap medical and dental.:slight_smile:

Wasn’t me, in fact I was kind of wondering if I made a mistake not opting for the root canal in this thread.

I think the answer is, it all depends. I mean if it’s a back molar in really bad condition and the root canal isn’t going to give it that much more time I can understand why someone might have it extracted though if I had the money I’d prob get an implant. Where the tooth is located can make a big difference, sometimes teeth shift a lot, sometimes they don’t. If I could save myself from an extraction via a root canal I probably would though.

If it’s a bottom tooth you have removed the tooth directly above it may begin to erupt down from the gum line because the opposing force is no longer there and now you’re starting to have more problems. If it’s your furthest back upper molar on the other hand there would be no teeth behind it to begin to tilt and the teeth on the bottom won’t be affected. Everything depends on the individual case. I would always avoid a bridge if I could because then you have to remove material from the two adjacent teeth and they can also lead to gingival recession.

I keep reading promising science articles about regrowing new teeth in humans. It would be really nice if they could make that happen before we all die. :slight_smile:

It also depends on how many teeth you have. I have hardly any due to having a load extracted for braces when I was a kid, so if my dodgy molar were removed I would only have one left on the upper right side of my face, so I’d have to at least have a crown, preferably an implant, and due to my lack of teeth a crown would be very difficult.

For me, also, everything except an implant is paid for by the NHS. So the decision was free to me or about £3,000, ie every penny of my savings. No holidays for the family for a couple of years because of one tooth for me. I kept the horrible tooth.

Without an implant your face is more likely to sag into the gap left by the root of the tooth, too, as you age.

I got a tooth root canaled – upper incisor, #10. The dentist prophesied that the tooth might last another 10 years, but would probably crack or shatter eventually. That was 40-some years ago, and the tooth is still all there and still in one piece. I’ve had a few other teeth root canaled over the years since, and they are all still there too.

FOUR VISITS for a root canal?

I’ve never heard of such a thing. My dentist did them in two, as far as I recall; one for the root canal itself, one for the crown. I could be mis-remembering, though.

7 for this one for me. It depends on the depth of the problem.