An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as the saying goes. But if all your flossing and brushing has still landed you in a place where you are forced to make a decision about extraction, knowing your options is very important.

Finding a dental professional that likes to preserve teeth is very important and there are options other than extraction. A root canal and subsequent placement of a dental crown is sometimes an alternative treatment depending on the extent of damage. In addition to this, there are surgical options in the form of “apicoectomy,” or root-end resection.

Root Canal Therapy

The space in the center of your tooth that runs the length of your tooth to the tip is called a canal. The actual root canal procedure involves drilling an opening into the tooth, the canal contents are then removed with small files. The canal is then widened and sealed permanently to the end of the root.

Don’t be too concerned if another x-ray is taken during this step. It is possible your dentist may require another look at the tooth during the root canal procedure. Upon completion you will have a temporary or permanent filling with a crown being placed a few weeks later.


Apicoectomy is usually only performed after a failed root canal, or where root canal therapy is not possible. This involves removing the tooth’s root tip, which is usually where problems will occur with a failed root canal. If you have a root canal blocked by a fractured file that cannot be removed, small branches that cannot be sealed or curved roots that prohibit access to the root tip, these are all situations in which apioectomy may be a suitable alternative to extraction.