Root Canal Treatment vs. Dental Implants

root canal treatment

We are going to take a look at both root canal treatment and dental implants. There are certain cases when one is preferable over the other.

When you think of a dentist, you likely think of someone whose job it is to save teeth. When treatment is as simple as drilling and filling a manageable cavity, saving teeth is a distinct possibility. But when decay has worked its way deeper into the tooth pulp, a root canal becomes a far more distinct possibility. If the tooth can be salvaged through this procedure, you shouldn’t need an implant.

But when the tooth is too degraded and there will be nothing left after all of the drilling necessary for a root canal, the remaining options are just leaving a gaping hole in your mouth, filling the space with a replacement. A dental implant.

A Look At Dental Implants

A dental implant uses a titanium screw to support a prosthetic crown. The screw is placed directly into the jawbone. Unlike with the ligament of your natural teeth, there is no intervening soft tissue; rather the screw is directly attached to the bone. The bond between the implant and bone is affected by bacterial action, biting forces, and other effects that natural teeth are subjected to. Fortunately, the response is different in the case of dental implants. In some cases, the bone attachment can break down if the implant becomes infected through chronic bacterial infection or from just plain overloading. This would require the old implant to be replaced by a new implant, but that may require gingival grafting or bone grafting.

A Look at Crowns and Root Canal Treatment

When it is possible to save the tooth, rather than replace it, a crown and root canal treatment could be the answer. Teeth can last a long time if a root canal is properly executed. After a root canal, the remaining teeth have no blood supply or nerves. But because the periodontal ligaments still exist, sensation is present. This means that you’ll still know that the tooth is there because you can sense it. What’s more, it is far more convenient to go through your routine oral hygiene maintenance because the crown and root make it possible to preserve the tooth’s natural contour.

Is there a risk? As is usually the case in any procedure, there are risks. First and foremost, this procedure or treatment must be done by an experienced, reliable, and reputable dental professional in order to significantly reduce risk. That aside, because non-vital teeth tend to be brittle, the possibility of a fracture during the procedure remains. Should the tooth fracture, a viable option would be the previously discussed dental implant (after removal of the fractured, nonviable tooth).

When Is It Better to Extract?

Certain conditions may point to extraction over trying to save the tooth through a root canal. Here are some of those conditions:

  • Aesthetics — if the teeth involved are crooked and crowded, a singular implant is a real challenge. The challenge only becomes greater if the teeth that remain are rotten as well.
  • Whole arch prosthesis — when a patient has almost no teeth left in their mouth, a better option may be to extract the teeth that remain, making way for a full arch prosthesis.
  • Un-restorable tooth — when a tooth is far too decayed to be saved, and the structure of the tooth cannot be rebuilt through the process of root canal and crown placement, it is likely better to simply extract the tooth completely.

Again, make sure that whichever treatment you decide upon, it is completed by an experienced, knowledgeable dentist.

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