Root canal treatment or dental implants?

The most common dental problem that occurs is the decay of teeth. As there is no pain on the onset of dental decay, most people neglect to get it corrected and slowly the problem aggravates. The decay becomes more pronounced and causes fracture of the tooth structure or just deepens and leads to the pulp of the tooth getting exposed and infected. A root canal treatment is then required.

The most common corrective measure that a dentist will suggest is to try and retain the tooth by providing a treatment called a root canal treatment. With this treatment, the dentist will clean out the infected pulp, fill it with an inert material and then build up the lost tooth structure with a restorative filling and then place a protective aesthetic crown over the tooth.

Although this is a good treatment to save the natural tooth, not all teeth that are treated using this procedure will become totally symptom-free. Although success rate of root canal treatment is quite good, there are few teeth that are classified as questionable wherein root canal treatment might not be such a success.

When such questionable teeth are root canal treated, chances are high that symptoms that existed earlier (pain, swelling, sensitivity) might recur and will need further treatment or re-treatment. This will add up to the financial burden on the patient as well as increase the pain and difficulties encountered.

Severely destroyed teeth when restored following the root canal treatment might undergo loss of supporting bone due to various causes which might need further treatments, failing that, the tooth may eventually need extracting.

Therefore, in many such cases where dentists are posed with treatment of questionable teeth with either root canal treatment or with extraction and replacement, more and more practitioners are opting to go in for the latter. But, the question that comes to the mind is will not replacement with a foreign body cause more problems than using restorative methods to retain the tooth.

As science and technology has improved, the more basic way of replacing the tooth with removable or fixed dentures are being slowly replaced by a more stable and long-lasting method of replacement of teeth using dental implants. A dental implant is a screw made of titanium that will be placed in the jawbone that will act as a root for the replacement over which the replacement crown or an overdenture will be fixed.

As the replacement of teeth with dental implants is a fixed, patients are very comfortable as with natural teeth and it is very functional as well as highly aesthetic. So, in comparison to a questionable tooth that gets root canal treated and restored with a crown, the dental implant is far more superior in terms of aesthetics as well as functionality.

Statistics show that success rate of a single-tooth replacement using dental implants is as high as 98% which is a significantly higher success figure in comparison to a questionable tooth receiving root canal treatment. Since there is no further bone loss or any such problems associated, the tooth remains functional and looks more aesthetic for a longer period of time.

So, although initially the replacement of such questionable teeth using dental implants might seem to be an expensive process, the total expense involved and the problems of pain and loss of time encountered with root canal treatment followed by surgical procedure or re-treatment procedures, is much higher. Therefore, many dentists are now of the opinion that tooth replacement with dental implants is a much better solution than undertaking root canal procedures especially when it comes to questionable teeth.