Root Canal or Implant


                                                                                                                                                               Root Canal or Implant?

So you have a tooth with a big problem such as decay into the nerve or a crown has come off.  Your dentist tells you that you can save the tooth by having a root canal treatment or tooth extraction and that the best way to replace it is to have an implant placed. How you decide which treatment is best for you?

30 years ago a dentist would have done any possible treatments to save a tooth (unless the patient preferred extraction for economic reasons).  The surgical techniques used then are done less frequently now because implants are available. Additionally, if a tooth is badly broken down it is more commonly extracted now. There are pros and cons to both implants and root canal treatment:

Root Canal “Pros”

-the root of the tooth is already in place,  is in ideal shape, and a natural substance

-start to finish, a root canal, filling, and crown can be done in less than a month

-there is no need to use a removable false tooth during the process

-there is no risk of post-operative bleeding or other extraction complications

Root Canal “Cons”

-the natural root and tooth can later decay or fracture

-the root canal treatment can fail and get reinfected

-all teeth that have had root canals must have a permanent filling or “core” placed and most of them will also need a crown

Implant “Pros”

-implants never decay

-implants are less likely to fracture

Implant “Cons”

-implants can sometimes be placed the day a tooth is extracted but in most cases there is a better outcome if a bone graft is placed after the extraction and then several months of healing are allowed to take place

-a removable partial denture or “flipper” is often worn for four to eight months during healing

-implants are round and do not mimic the shape of the natural tooth so it can be more difficult to get a natural looking crown on top of the implant

-an implant can still break, crack, or get a gum infection

-people who have taken certain types of medications, such as bisphosphonates, are not good candidates for implants. Diabetics and smokers have a higher rate of implants loss.

Let us know if you have any questions about root canal treatment or implants. We can help you decide which treatment option is best for you.