Your teeth are regularly subjected to acid, surrounded by bacteria, and routinely go on working for several decades. One of the goals of modern dentistry is to preserve one of your most valuable physical assets or at least, to make sure that you have a complete set of teeth.
Advances in dentistry have made this possible, but patients are often at the crossroads between a root canal and a dental implant.
Questions asked to include:
- What is more painful?
- Which is more expensive?
- What are the pros and cons of each procedure?
- Which is the truly “better” treatment option?
Patients who are suffering from serious tooth decay that reaches deep into the root experience severe pain making it difficult for the teeth to perform their function.
This makes root canal and dental implant treatments two of the best treatments in managing this infection. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between these two procedures and their pros and cons.
Differentiating Root Canal and Dental Implant
What is a root canal?
A root canal treatment is designed to eliminate bacteria from the infected root canal, prevent Family Dentistry reinfection of the tooth and save the natural tooth. The procedure involves the following:
- Removing the inflamed or infected pulp
- Cleaning the tooth carefully
The modern root canal treatment is similar to a routine filling and can usually be completed in one or two appointments. It is a relatively painless procedure and extremely effective.
What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is placed into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge. It can be an option for people who have lost a tooth or teeth due to periodontal disease or injury.
A dental implant procedure involves the following:
- Replacing a single tooth
- Replacing several teeth
- Replacing all of your teeth
- Sinus augmentation
- Ridge modification
Pros and Cons of Root Canals and Dental Implants
Pros of Root Canals
- You can keep your tooth. With a complete set of teeth, you can effectively smile, talk, eat and perform all necessary teeth functions.
- You can preserve the bone around the tooth or keep your jawbone intact. This will give you better total health.
- It is typically a painless dental treatment procedure because of the advanced ways of administering anesthetic.
- It carries many other advantages like:
- Efficient chewing
- Normal biting force and sensation
- Natural appearance
- Protects other teeth from excessive wear or stain
- More affordable than replacing a tooth with an implant
- Less painful than a tooth extraction
- More cosmetically appealing because it is natural-looking
Cons of Root Canals
- They can cause your teeth to become brittle because most of the inside of your tooth will be removed, leaving your tooth hollow. This will open avenues for infection or mother issues with the same tooth in the future.
- The procedure involves a rather complicated process. It needs skill, precision, and time. Dentists performing the treatment may sometimes not be able to entirely remove the dead tissue from the tooth. If you prefer this dental treatment, you should choose a qualified and experienced dentist.
- The procedure does not take one appointment to get done. It will take multiple sessions depending on the severity of the damage to the tooth. A dentist may choose to remove the infection and allow the area to heal. This would usually take two to four weeks where the tooth will be filled but not sealed. Then the tooth will have to be x-rayed before it will finally be sealed to make sure that there will be no other issues with the tooth in the future.
- Other disadvantages of a root canal:
- There is no 100% guarantee that the tooth will be clean
- It may breed infection which will require antibiotics and analgesics
- The tooth will need reinforcement with a porcelain crown or post or both
- May cause discomfort to the mouth and jaw
- The tooth may discolor or darken after the procedure
Pros of Dental Implants
- You don’t need to maintain the tooth because it is fake, therefore, it is not prone to decay. All that is needed is regular teeth cleanings.
- With proper care, a high-quality dental implant can last a lifetime. You will not need to worry about replacing it any sooner.
- Dental implants are strong and reliable and do not get brittle over time. This means they will not be easily chipped or broken even when you eat tough foods.
- You will keep your smile in the right position and prevent bone loss.
- Other advantages of dental implants according to WebMD include:
- Improved appearance
- Improved speech
- Improved comfort
- Easier eating
- Improved self-esteem
- Improved oral health
- Dental implants have a success rate of up to 98%.
Cons of Dental Implants
- Surgery always carries some risks. There may be infection, inflammation, nerve damage, and fractures.
- Recovery after the surgery will take time. Your jawbone will need time to recover and it will usually take around 3 months for the whole process to be completed.
- Implants can be very costly although the price will depend on the type of implant needed. But, generally, all options are costly.
What is More Painful? Root Canal or Implant?
The extensive procedure for a root canal treatment and the soreness after each procedure with mild discomfort for a few days makes the root canal a more painful treatment.
A dental implant only involves pain when the effect of the anesthesia wears off when the tooth to be replaced by an implant will be removed.
Root Canal Vs Implant Cost
The typical cost for a root canal treatment is approximately $1,500 for molars. Dental implants, on the other hand, can cost $3,000 or more. It can be helpful to consider that insurance will often cover root canals and crowns while coverage for implants is more difficult to find.
Related: Is There a Cheaper Alternative to Dental Implants?
Making Your Decision Between a Root Canal or a Dental Implant
Discuss the options of getting a root canal or a dental implant with your local dentist. You can tell your dentist your concerns, needs, and preferences. Weigh the pros and cons of a root canal vs a dental implant and the cost of each treatment.
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Tiger Smile Family Dentistry offers a variety of dental care services and treatments in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. For more information contact us now!
Led by Dr. Cecilia L. Luong, her team of dentists has been assisting clients with different teeth, gum, and mouth problems.