Should I have the root canal or the extraction?

I recently cracked part of a filling off of my back left molar during chewing. The dentist could not see any cracks on the xray. The tooth is mostly old filling. I was hoping to just leave it alone, but this week I have bitten down on food with i! t twice and had excrutiating pain that lasted a couple of minutes. I have been experiencing headaches as well this week. The dentist wants to do a root canal and crown, but finances are an issue and I am not sure I want the posts, etc in my mouth. Would extraction be a good option for this tooth? Are there usually any complications from molar extraction? thank you for your reply,
- Kathy from Kansas

Kathy,

If you are talking about the tooth that is furthest back in your mouth – your lower second molar, there are some possible complications. You will undoubtedly end up also losing the upper second molar – with no opposing tooth, it will drift down until in a couple of years it ends up biting on your gums. There are also possible complications with the actual extraction – the tooth could break during the extraction and could require the removing of gum and bone tissue in order to get it all out. I wouldn’t recommend extracting this tooth when it can be fixed – there is no way to put it back. And you can’t see the future. You might have complications later with the first molar, and this second molar could be very useful in serving as an anchor for replacing that tooth. But you’ll have to decide this for yourself.

But, if you are to lose a tooth, this second molar causes fewer complications than losing most other teeth. Losing a first molar, for example, can completely ruin your bite on that side of your mouth, as teeth tip in to fill that space.

The best replacement for a missing tooth is a dental implant. But saving the tooth is better.