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Infected Tooth: Root Canal or Extraction?

An infected or abscessed tooth that is left untreated can lead to serious oral health issues. Without treatment, the infection can spread to the alveolar bone and cause lesions or more serious complications.

You should always have an infected tooth treated as soon as possible, either with a root canal or tooth extraction.

If you wonder which of these treatments is better, keep reading. Our Montreal dentists will explain everything!

How does a tooth become infected?

The process of developing a dental infection often starts with seemingly minor problems that can lead to major consequences.


Untreated tooth cavities are one of the primary causes of dental infection. When a cavity forms and is not treated in time, it can gradually spread through the tooth’s protective enamel and reach the pulp, the soft tissue inside the tooth that contains blood vessels and nerves. Once the bacteria penetrate the dental pulp, an infection can take root.


Bacteria play a major role in dental infections. They thrive in dental plaque, a thin, sticky layer that constantly forms on our teeth. When plaque is not removed by regular brushing and proper oral hygiene, bacteria proliferate and can cause gum inflammation, also known as gingivitis.

Root canal or tooth extraction: which is better?

When a tooth becomes infected, the choice between root canal treatment and tooth extraction can be a tricky one. Each of these options has its advantages and disadvantages, and the decision must be made after careful consideration of various factors, including the severity of the infection, the need to preserve dentition and any long-term implications for oral health.

Root canal

Root canal treatment, also known as endodontic treatment, is a procedure designed to treat and save an infected tooth while preserving its natural structure. When an infection reaches the dental pulp, the pulp is removed to eliminate bacteria and infected tissue. Next, the canal is cleaned, disinfected and sealed to prevent re-infection. Finally, the tooth is restored with a crown or permanent filling.

Root canal treatment is generally recommended when infection has not yet caused irreversible damage to the tooth. It preserves the natural tooth and prevents further complications. Although the process may seem complex, it offers a viable alternative to extraction.

Tooth extraction

Tooth extraction involves the complete removal of the infected tooth. It is considered when the infection is too widespread to be successfully treated by other means. In some cases, an infected tooth can cause damage to surrounding tissue, making it necessary to remove the tooth to prevent further infection.

Tooth extraction is performed with care and precision, but it can have long-term implications for oral health. When a tooth is extracted, the oral imbalance can cause problems such as displacement of neighboring teeth, difficulty chewing and loss of bone structure. Further interventions, such as the installation of dental implants, may be necessary to maintain oral function and appearance.

Comparing options

When someone suffers from a tooth infection, it is preferable to treat it with a root canal whenever possible. In fact, root canal treatment is likely to involve far fewer complications than tooth extraction.

The final decision will depend on consultation with a dental professional, who will assess the severity of the infection, the condition of the dentition and the patient’s individual needs.

Can an infected tooth be pulled?

In some cases, pulling an infected tooth may be an option, especially when the infection is so advanced that it threatens the patient’s overall health.

However, pulling an infected tooth is not always the best option. Alternatives such as root canal treatment may be better , since this allows you to preserve the natural tooth. The severity of the infection, the level of damage to the tooth and the presence of viable treatment options are all factors that will influence the final decision.

Professional consultation

To make informed oral health decisions, refer to the advice and recommendations of a qualified dental professional. A dentist will carefully assess your situation, perform examinations and review x-rays to get a complete picture of the extent of the infection. Call us for more information!

Treat an infected tooth at Clinique Dentaire 1935

If you suffer from an infected tooth, it is strongly recommended that you consult your dentist as soon as possible to evaluate your condition. Your dentist can provide you with good advice and guidance. Feel free to ask questions – good communication is essential to a constructive patient-dentist relationship.

If you think you have a tooth infection, the dental professionals at Clinique Dentaire 1935 can quickly diagnose your problem and suggest the best treatment solutions.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

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