Should I get a dental implant or root canal?
You might’ve broken a tooth so badly that you’re left wondering whether it could be saved or not. Typically, when a tooth breaks below your gum lines it has very poor prognosis. There just isn’t enough tooth structure to support a crown any longer. As such, you most likely need to remove teeth which break below the gumlines. However, when teeth break above the gumline they might be salvageable. Your dentist can best determine if your tooth can be saved or not. In these cases you’re usually faced with two treatment options: A dental implant or root canal. So which is the better treatment option for your broken tooth? Is it worth saving your tooth with a root canal? Or are you better off removing the tooth and placing a dental implant over root canal?
What are the benefits of a dental implant over root canal?
A root canal is when your dentist removes and replaces the tooth nerve with a filling material. Dental implant on the other hand involves removing the entire tooth and replacing it with a screw and fake tooth. When you perform a root canal you get to keep the actual tooth, however with an implant your original tooth is completely removed. Lets review the benefits of dental implant over root canal first:
Dental implants are less likely to fail than root canals
Neither a dental implant nor root canal have a 100% success rate. There is always a risk of failure with any dental procedure, including both dental implant and root canals. Dental implants may lose their supporting bone structure, a condition referred to as peri-implantitis, and become loose and fail over time. Root canals can develop a recurring infection or break and fail as well.
A successful dental implant rarely ever creates a problem. Most well placed dental implants tend to last you a lifetime. On the other hand, many root canals run into issues and need to be removed and replaced with a dental implant years later. Root canal failure is much higher than dental implants. In fact in some cases root canals fail almost immediately and the tooth must be removed and replaced with a dental implant right away!
Dental implants are sturdier than root canals
Teeth that receive root canals usually also require a post and crown to restore the original tooth structure. However, each of these treatment come with their own risks and complications. Here are some reasons why root canal treated teeth are likely to face more problems over time:
Root canal treatment dries up teeth
Root canal treatment removes the tooth nerve along with its blood vessels. Lack of blood flow makes teeth become dry. As a result root canal treated teeth turn fragile and brittle over time.
Dental posts fracture teeth roots
Your dentist usually has to place what’s known as a dental post after completing a root canal. Dental posts help re-enforce the missing tooth structure subsequent to root canal treatment. Unfortunately, dental posts also place a lot of stress on teeth roots. This can lead up to root fracture over time.
Crowns further weaken tooth structure
Your root canal treated tooth will also require a crown to protect the tooth. This means that your dentist has to shave down substantial tooth structure to make a proper fitting crown for your tooth. This additional removal of tooth structure further weakens your tooth and makes it more likely to fail over time.
As you can see, root canal treatment makes your tooth much more likely to break and fail. A dental implant on the other hand that has a much lower failure rate. Since dental implants are fully synthetic material, they tend to hold up better over time than root canal treated teeth.
You get a more definitive outcome with implant over root canal
Root canal treated teeth may always be lost due to infection or fracture. If this happens, you most likely have to remove the tooth and replace it with a dental implant. Very seldom can anything be done to save teeth with a recurring root canal infection. You’re probably throwing good money after bad money trying to save a failing root canal treated tooth. Most likely it’s just a matter of time until your tooth fails again.
When is it best to go with an implant over root canal?
Whenever there’s very little to no tooth structure left above your gum lines, it’s better to go with a dental implant over root canal. Root canal treated teeth require sufficient tooth structure to hold up a crown over time. Badly broken teeth don’t have enough tooth structure to support a crown. Additionally, teeth with very advanced infections usually respond better to a dental implant over root canal. When a gross infection surrounds your tooth, chances or root canal failure increases significantly. It might just be a better idea to remove these teeth and go for a dental implant right away.
Some people avoid dental implants and choose to receive a risky root canal treatment for all the wrong reasons. Maybe they are scared of implants or they don’t want to spend as much on the tooth. Keep in mind that if your tooth is severely compromised, then it’s very likely to break within a few months or years. You will have no choice but to receive a dental implant sooner or later in these circumstances. Don’t let fear or price be the determining factor in these situations. After all a root canal, post, crown that fails and needs to be removed ends up costing the same, or even more, than a dental implant!