Root Canal vs. Dental Implant

Do I need a root canal? Patients who have a tooth that has become painful, or is undergoing extensive decay, often asked themselves this question. Those who are dealing with this situation may be advised to undergo a root canal procedure or receive a dental implant to correct the problem.

We can rescue your tooth by performing a root canal procedure, which involves the removal of the infected pulp and subsequent filling using an inert material like gutta-percha. Patients often follow up a root canal by capping the treated tooth with a dental crown, as the root canal will have weakened it somewhat.

On the other hand, to receive a dental implant, your original tooth must be extracted, followed by the implantation of a titanium metal post within your jawbone. We would later attach a dental crown to allow you to bite and chew normally.

If you are on the fence about whether a root canal or dental implant makes the best choice for you, keep reading for a comparison of both treatment options.

Here are a few of the key benefits of undergoing a root canal procedure:

The main benefit of undergoing a root canal versus getting a dental implant is that you do not lose your original tooth. You will be maintaining a natural smile. Of course, a dental crown is sometimes necessary to help repair and strengthen the tooth. But you will still have some original tooth structure to attach a crown onto.

Undergoing a root canal procedure costs significantly less than getting a dental implant. However, root canal procedures are often covered by insurance, while dental implants are not typically covered.

Undergoing a root canal does not take as long as getting a dental implant. A root canal should take only one or two dental visits, possibly involving a short wait while you are waiting for a permanent crown. A temporary crown can be placed in the meantime.

Although root canal therapy is safe and effective, there are some downsides to consider.

There is the risk that the tooth needing treatment will not survive in the end. So a root canal procedure is not always possible.

Root canal procedures have a high success rate, but complications are possible. For example, if every bit of the infected pulp is not removed, an abscess and reinfection can occur. Additionally if the tooth develops a crack or becomes fractured due to stress it could result in removing the tooth. 

Here are the main benefits of dental implants:

Although you would not retain your natural tooth, a dental implant offers outstanding aesthetics. The color of your implant will match that of your natural teeth.

If you care for your new dental implant by regularly brushing and flossing, and keeping up with dental exams and cleanings, you should be able to keep your implant for the rest of your life.

On the other hand, if you undergo a root canal, you could still experience tooth failure or need to replace the dental crown in around 10 years.

One drawback to getting a dental implant versus undergoing a root canal procedure is that insurance does not usually pay for dental implants. 

Getting a dental implant is a more invasive process that requires multiple dental appointments and several months until your final tooth is on your dental implant. 

If you are still undecided about whether to undergo a root canal procedure or get a dental implant, feel free to contact our office to request additional information or to schedule a consultation at your convenience.

Thanks for your support!

– Dr. Houlik





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