If you have a badly decayed or damaged tooth, the dental care provider may recommend several treatments for you to choose from. That can include a root canal treatment or a dental implant with tooth extraction. This post from Sydney Dental will discuss root canal vs dental implant, so you will have a much easier time weighing your options.

root canal vs dental implant

Whatever the case is, always speak with a certified dentist. Feel free to share with them your concerns as well as expectations. They will give you details about these two options like the pros and cons and make recommendations for your case. Wait no more, read on and find out how a root canal and dental implant compare!

Dental implant

1. Understanding the terms

A root canal treatment and a dental implant are both dental work done to resolve a diseased tooth. However, they hold different features and may be only right for certain people with certain problems. Read on to have a good picture of what they are and do.

1.1 What is a root canal treatment?

It is also referred to as a root canal therapy, or root canal treatment in short. The tooth root canal is a part of the tooth. It is an empty room inside the tooth carrying nerves, blood vessels, and several other cells, all of which are called the tooth pulp.

The tooth anatomy consists of a tooth crown above and a tooth root below the gums. The tooth root helps keep the tooth bound in place with the jaw bone. The tooth pulp provides nutrition for the tooth and moisture for the tooth and gums. The nerves in the tooth pulp help sense hot and cold temperatures as well as pain. Without the pulp nerves, the tooth normal functions are still not affected.

Root canal treatment is carried out to treat damaged teeth due to tooth decay or severe infection. During the procedure, the nerves are removed and the root canal is cleaned, then the tooth hole will be sealed. If you don’t receive root canal treatment timely, the tissue surrounding the tooth will get severely infected and may result in abscesses.

The procedure involves the following steps:

  • Firstly, the dental care provider will inject local anesthesia into your tooth;
  • Next, they make a small incision in the top side of the tooth;
  • Then they will remove all the soft tissue, also called pulp, that is infected or inflamed in the root tooth canal;
  • The dentist will fill the created space with a type of biocompatible material called  gutta-percha;
  • Last step is to seal shut the access hole in the tooth with a temporary kind of filling.

The patient will have a follow-up visit with the dentist after one or two weeks to have the temporary filling taken off and a crown placed on top as a restoration if needed.

In some cases, the top prosthesis is attached at the same visit so the patient won’t have to return for another appointment.

1.2 Why is a root canal done?

When the nerves or tooth pulp are damaged, bacteria will grow in the root canal and destroy the tooth structure. The tooth can be infected or tooth abscesses may form after that. An abscess is the formation of a sac of pus at the end of the tooth root occuring when the infection has spread all over the tooth. Besides tooth abscesses, infected root canal can also cause:

  • Swelling that can spread to other facial parts such as the neck and head;
  • Loss of bones that surround the tooth root;
  • Water loss through the tooth root.
root canal vs dental implant
root canal vs dental implant

1.3 What is a dental implant?

Dental implants play as the substitute roots for your teeth. They bring patients a strong base for permanent or detachable false teeth that are designed to match your original ones. Those who have lost one or more teeth can find dental implants helpful. A dental implant is also needed if you have missing teeth as a result of:

  • Tooth decay, also called cavities;
  • Breaks in the tooth roots;.
  • Teeth grinding or clenching, also known as bruxism;
  • Periodontal conditions;
  • Injuries to the face;
  • Innate tooth loss (born with some teeth missing).

When your tooth is so damaged that it can’t be saved with a root canal treatment, you may want to consider a tooth extraction together with a dental implant surgery or other replacement methods.

In typical tooth extraction, the dentist will apply numbing medication and use a specialized tool like forceps to remove the affected tooth. Sometimes the patient may need to receive an extraction surgery that requires general anesthesia. In the surgery, the surgeon will make an incision into your gum and may remove some bone surrounding the tooth and the tooth itself.

Nonetheless, you may have to wait at least a few months after the extraction to get a dental implant to fill the gap in the mouth. The waiting time varies from individual to individual.

Some patients can have an implant which is like a crew right after the extraction procedure. However, most people need to allow time for their bone to heal before the implant treatment. This usually takes one to four months at least. 

1.4 How is a dental implant done?

During the surgery, the dentist will do the following to place your implants:

  • Put you under anesthesia. They will calculate the right dose of local anesthesia to numb your gums up. If you want to be sedated, meaning you’ll fall asleep during the procedure, the provider may accommodate that request as well;
  • Make a cut in your gums. As soon as you feel comfortable with the help of the numbing medication, the professional will create an incision in your gums to give space for the upcoming dental implant. This will reveal the bone underneath for the implant to be located;
  • Prepare the jaw. Your dentist will use specialized tools to make a hole in your jawbone. They’ll expand the it until it is of the exact diameter for your the implant;
  • Position the implant. The provider will place the dental implant into your jaw with extra care;
  • Seal the cuts. Finally, your dentist will reposition the gums and stitch the incision shut.

2. The upsides of receiving a root canal over a dental implant

Saving teeth

If your tooth can be saved with a root canal treatment, you may not need to place an implant to replace it.

Smaller cost

A root canal can be substantially less expensive than a dental implant surgery. The final price for a root canal as well as an implant differs, depending on factors like your location, the facility and surgeon performing it, whether it is insurance covered, and if there are additional procedures to be done.

Less invasive

A root canal is much less invasive than an extraction coupled with implant surgery. These procedures require the use of local and possibly general anesthesia and removal of the tooth as well as some bone around it.

Less time

With a root canal, you may go back to the clinic after a week or so to get the tooth restoration on top or it can be all completed in just one visit. Dental implant treatment, on the other hand, can take the patient multiple months.

Faster recovery

It only takes a few days to heal from a root canal while it is months for the dental implant surgery. This is because time is needed for the newly placed implants to be fused with the jawbone. 

root canal vs dental implant
root canal vs dental implant

3. The downsides of going with a root canal instead of an implant

We have listed the advantages of a root canal treatment in comparison with a dental implant. Now it is time to talk about the opposite.

Destabilizing teeth

The surgeon needs to make drill holes into your tooth to take out the inflamed pulp. If the tooth is already weak, this can make it more fragile. 

Failure to save the tooth

A root canal may not be enough to fix a severely damaged tooth. It may end up dead anyway, which requires you to get an extraction and dental implant.

4. A note from Sydney Dental – your trusted provider

Whether a root canal treatment or dental implant is a better fit for you largely depends on the state of your tooth and other factors. If your tooth is considerably diseased or damaged, the best option is usually to remove it and replace it with a dental implant rather than a root canal treatment. However, always make sure to consult thoroughly with your dentist about everything before making your final decision. 

Hopefully after this read with Sydney Dental you’ve had a good idea of how a root canal and a dental implant surgery compare. Now you may be able to decide if either of them is something for you. If you are still unsure of which treatment to go with for a new unforgettably stunning smile in your particular case, do not hesitate to get in touch with us. We are at 499-501 Ba Hat St, Ward 8, District 10, HCMC looking forward to your visit. You may also call us at (028) 3504 9440 for a free no-obligation comprehensive consultation. Your pretty, shiny smile is 100% guaranteed at Sydney Dental!

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