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At times our teeth may be damaged to the point that regular preventative measures can’t really save them. In other instances you might have a tooth erupting despite the fact that your gums have run out of room. Those who have gone through such a wisdom tooth eruption would know it can be quite painful and jarring to deal with.

patient undergoing a root canal procedure at dental office

In any case, if you run out of options, your two last resorts include extractions and root canal procedures.

The question is; what is the difference between the two and what should you go for?

What They Are All About

The first thing that would help here is learning a little bit about both procedures, when they are applied and what they entail in order to make a more informed decision as to which would suit you best.

Root Canals

tooth with root canal x ray info-graphic

Root canals are used in cases where your teeth are damaged and you are feeling pain or discomfort; but at the same time, the teeth are not far gone enough to be unsalvageable. In short, if you can save the tooth in question, a root canal is what you go for.

Root canals are called such as the procedure is used to treat the inner most part of your tooth known as the pulp. This part is packed with blood vessels and nerve endings and in a sense is where the nourishment for your tooth comes from.

Tooth damage such as cracks and deeper cavities can lead to the accumulation of dirt and hence bacterial infection of this area. Such infections further result in unbearable pain, discomfort and sometimes swelling.

A root canal involves numbing of the infected area followed by a scraping of the pulp which is either damaged due to infection or dead. The pulp cavity is filled with a dental replacement and the tooth is capped or sealed to prevent further infection.


In some cases however your tooth might be beyond saving. In such instances a tooth extraction is recommended. As the name states, an extraction is just that. You have your tooth surgically removed and the area disinfected.

Naturally an extraction would leave you missing a tooth. If you extract a wisdom tooth because your gums could not hold another set you probably won’t need replacements. In some cases however the missing tooth can be replaced by a bridge or dental implant.

Winding Down

Though the information above should give you further clarity as to what procedure to go for, your dentist will probably make the final call after you go for a preliminary or diagnostic visit. Based on what your dentist deduces, you would be provided options that you can choose from.

If you’re located in Palmdale CA and are looking for a reliable family dentist offering emergency dental care as well as root canals, extractions and other dental procedures give us a shout!

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