Are Implants better than root canals?

Root Canal

Sometimes severe toothache is caused due to extreme decay of teeth or an infection that is spreading rapidly. If so, your dentist will recommend you either get a root canal treatment or permanently extract the teeth and replace it with an implant.

What are Root Canal Treatment and Implant Treatment?

In the case of a root canal, the endodontist first removes the infected pulp, sterilizes the pulp cavity, and seals it shut with a type of biocompatible material called gutta-percha to prevent any decay in the future. Later, they put a crown on the treated teeth so that you can eat and chew properly.

An implant, on the other hand, starts with the extraction of the damaged tooth followed by the removal of some bone around the infected tooth. After which, the Implantologist installs a metal post in the space and screws a dental crown above it so that you can chew normally.

Now, both these treatments have their pros and cons and you can choose either of the two. Below we will compare the two procedures so that you can decide which one you prefer.

What hurts more? Root Canal or Dental Implant?

Studies suggest that dental implants are much less painful as compared to root canal treatment.

Even though more invasive as compared to Root Canal Treatment, the pain in a teeth implant procedure would only arise once the effect of anesthesia wears off, while successful root canal treatments involve acute pain and teeth sensitivity for 2-3 days.

So, are implants better than root canal treatment?

To understand it better, we have jotted down a few pros and cons of undergoing both procedures.

Pros of a root canal

You can save your original teeth: You would not have to compromise with your natural smile because, during the treatment, the endodontist would clean the infected pulp, clean the pulp cavity and seal the tooth. They would then put a crown on the tooth to protect it for a very long time.

Your original teeth and original smile will stay intact.

Almost painless treatment: Modern technology and expertise have made it fundamentally easier to get a root canal nowadays. Apart from the time when the anesthesia wears off, you won’t feel any pain during or after the treatment. There could be a little pain between the time from temporary cavity filling to your next visit for crown fitting. Apart from that, RCT is a painless procedure.

Affordable Procedure: Depending on the level of severity and region, root canal treatments range from around INR 1500 to INR 12,000, which is far less as compared to other invasive procedures.

Fast recovery period: Usually the entire procedure is completed within one or two visits. There is no healing period involved as the pulp cavity is practically sealed shut. The pain also subsides within a week from the first visit.

Cons of Root Canal

Highly damaged teeth can’t be treated: If your tooth is too damaged, then this procedure might not be the ideal choice. In such a case, you will have to get it extracted.

Chances of failure: Despite high success rates, sometimes, due to unforeseen circumstances, your root canal can fail. If so, retreatment might damage the tooth and you would have to go for an implant instead.

Pros of Dental Implants

Look like natural teeth: People would hardly be able to differentiate the implants from the original teeth. Specialized techniques allow dentists to match the color of the implants to your teeth very well. So, no need to worry about your natural smile.

High Success Rate: Unlike root canals, implants have a 98% success rate, which means, there is almost no chance of failure. Implant treatment also saves you from multiple visits to the dentist after a failed RCT.

Permanent Solution: Implants can last longer than your teeth provided you take good care of your oral health and go for regular visits to the dentist.

Cons of Dental Implants

Expensive Procedure: Depending on the type of implant, the cost in India ranges between INR 15,000 to INR 1,00,000 approximately, making this an expensive procedure. This makes it almost inaccessible for people without dental insurance. In some cases, even dental insurance won’t cover the total charges.

Invasive Procedure: The procedure comprises drilling a post into your mouth. Right from extracting the tooth to capping it after fitting the metal post, it might take several visits to finish.

Long Recovery Period: Implantologists can’t fix the metal post-straightaway. They might have to first wait for the area to heal. You might have to go through the hassle of taking extreme precautions during the healing process. Moreover, you won’t be able to consume any hard foods during that period.

Success rate comparison of root canal treatment and dental implants

In a comparative study, the data revealed the success rate of dental implants to be 99% while for a root canal treatment, it was 95%.

Additionally, in case of a failed root canal, many dentists suggest either an implant or a procedure called “Apicoectomy” instead of retreatment. During this procedure, the dentist removes the root end of the tooth along with some gum tissue, and the cavity is sterilized and later filled with a biocompatible material.

Apicoectomy could save your original tooth; however, in rare cases, failure of this surgery might lead to extraction of your tooth followed by an implant. Therefore, you should ask your dentist for the ideal treatment plan or better, directly go for an implant. The only catch is your personal preference for the procedure.

Making the right choice

You might have to consult your dentist who will be able to suggest you the treatment option that suits your requirements.

Apart from that, the decision depends hugely on other factors such as the cost of the procedures, the severity of your damaged tooth, and sometimes personal preferences.

In case of extreme tooth damage, if your budget allows you to get a long-term solution, you can choose an implant procedure. However, if you would like to keep your original tooth and are facing budget constraints, then a root canal treatment would be an affordable and ideal choice. Around two or more visits to your dentist can help you get a clear idea of the process forward.

If you are finding difficulty in making the right choice, then we are here to help you get a detailed treatment plan. Our experts are committed to providing you with excellent treatment no matter what you choose. On your first visit, we will perform an X-ray and provide you with a comprehensive treatment plan to help you make the right choice for your teeth.

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