Are There Any Root Canal Alternatives?

Are there any root canal alternatives?  The most obvious alternative is tooth extraction and replacing the tooth with a tooth implant. 

In this article...Root canal myths  and  When tooth extraction is best



If you want to keep the tooth,  having a root canal remains the best and most reliable way to treat a tooth abscess, relieve pain and rid your body of chronic infection.

Yet this tried and true method is often one of the most feared and dreaded dental procedures.

With root canal treatment being the proven way to treat a tooth abscess, why look for an alternative?




These common misconceptions may be the reason you are searching for an alternative

There are some who think having a root canal is bad for your health and others who are nervous and afraid of having one.  

While root canal procedures are not fun, they are very tolerable and the best way to remove infection, relieve pain and keep a tooth that would otherwise be lost.  It is very bad for your health to leave infection untreated.

If you have had a toothache from an abscessed tooth you know how intense the pain can be.  Some believe this 

intense pain occurs during a root canal procedure prompting a search for root canal alternatives.  But, root canals are the remedy not the cause of tooth pain.  

Others claim that a root canal spreads infection by releasing it to the body when it really does just the opposite.  A root canal procedure provides relief and healing for the abscessed and infected area in the bone surrounding the tooth.

Like many medical and dental procedures, having a root canal can temporarily traumatize the tooth and surrounding area possibly causing soreness or pain that may require time and medication to heal.  

The pain after a root canal is typically different than pain before a root canal because it is a caused by the procedure and not the infection.  Pain after a root canal should gradually improve vs pain before that progressively gets worse.  

Most experience soreness or mild pain but not intense pain after a root canal. For pain that is severe, see your dentist or endodontist.

When to have a tooth extracted instead of a root canal

If the tooth with an abscess has other issues putting it at risk, extraction may be the best choice. 

Some examples

  • Teeth that have active gum disease that has caused severe bone loss.  These teeth are already compromised and may have a poor prognosis. 
  • Teeth that are misaligned and not useful for chewing.  Some teeth are not useful due to their position or the position of opposing teeth.  It doesn't make sense to treat these teeth.
  • When there is not enough tooth structure to support a crown after the root canal is done. Some teeth have such a large filling (or fillings) or may be broken in a way that there is not enough tooth to support a crown.


After a tooth is removed, a tooth implant is the best way to replace it.  If an implant is not possible, a dental bridge or one of these less expensive alternatives to an implant are possible.


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