Implants vs Root Canal: Which One to Choose and Why

Implants vs Root Canal: Which One to Choose and Why?

When a tooth is suffering from decay and infected pulp, the dentist usually presents two treatment options. You can either go with a root canal or choose to get a dental implant. While both lead to improved oral health, there are some implants vs root canal differences you must consider.

In this article, we’ll delve deeper into root canals vs implants in terms of different factors. By the end, you’ll have a good idea of which treatment option you should go for.

What is a Dental Implant?

A dental implant surgery is a procedure in which a small medical post is placed into your jawbone. The post is usually a titanium screw and acts as a replacement for the root of your missing tooth. After the screw is embedded in your jawbone, it is topped by a structure called an abutment. This abutment connects the screw to the crown that replaces the tooth.

As a result of the procedure, you get a strengthened facial structure and improved chewability. In addition, the implant also helps prevent bone deterioration in your jaw.

What is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a medical procedure done to save a severely infected or decayed tooth. The procedure is done by making an opening in the infected tooth to remove all the infected pulp from inside. Once the pulp is completely removed, the canals are cleaned and filled with a rubber-like filling called gutta-percha. The canals are then sealed and topped with a crown to help with tooth functionality.

The major difference between a dental implant vs root canal is that the latter preserves your natural tooth. Of course, you will need a crown for extra support, but you’ll still have some of your natural tooth intact.

Difference Between Dental Implant vs Root Canal

Now that you have a basic idea of what both treatment options are, let’s discuss the differences between implants vs root canals.

Cost

One of the major things to consider when choosing between implants vs root canals is the cost. Root canals are generally cheaper and will cost you between $700 to $1500 per tooth. Getting a dental implant, on the other hand, involves extensive surgery, so it’s more expensive. Generally, for a single dental implant, you may have to spend between $1500 and $4000.

It’s also important to note that while root canals and crowns are often covered by insurance, implants are not. So either way, root canals are the more affordable option.

Procedure Invasiveness

When it comes to implants vs root canals, both procedures are invasive. However, the degree of invasiveness of a root canal is much less than that of an implant. This is because, in a root canal, the dentist only removes the infected pulp and fills the canals for a sturdy foundation. The tooth structure is still your own.

In contrast, a dental implant involves completely removing your tooth and then replacing it with a medical post. So, between implants vs root canals, the procedure for getting an implant is more extensive.

Treatment Time

The next difference between implants vs root canals is the time it takes to complete each treatment.  A root canal usually only takes 1-2 visits, and then you have to wait a few days before getting fitted with a crown. The healing is pretty quick, and there aren’t many follow-up appointments.

In contrast,  a dental implant is a lengthy procedure. You’re first required to get your tooth extracted and then allow your gums to heal. Once that’s done, you’ll require more visits to prepare your jawbone for the surgery and choose a suitable implant that matches your natural teeth. After that, you’ll be scheduled for the implant installation procedure. You’ll also be set up with a few follow-up appointments to monitor your recovery.

Longevity and Maintainance

Ideally, you want to go for a treatment that offers long-lasting results that are easy to maintain. Between implants vs root canals, the former option is more long-lasting. This is because a dental implant basically acts as a new tooth. The screw is decay resistant and durable, so with proper care, it can last you more than 20 years.

Root canals, on the other hand, are unpredictable. The lastingness mainly depends on the initial damage to the tooth and how weak the root canal made it. So, the results can last for the rest of your life or not even a few years after the procedure. The crown also usually requires replacement after 5-15 years.

Recovery Period

The next difference between implants vs root canals is the recovery period. If you prefer a quicker recovery period, you should choose to get a root canal. On average, the treatment can be finished in a single sitting, and you aren’t prescribed any bed rest. Complete recovery, however, can take a few weeks.

In comparison, dental implants have a longer recovery period due to being more invasive. Complete recovery can take as early as six weeks. However, it’s important to remember that each step of the treatment requires a certain healing period. That means that if your appointments are scheduled many days apart, complete recovery can take a few months.

Involved Risks

Another factor you must consider when deciding between implants vs root canals is the involved risks. With 97%, dental implants have a high success rate and also a low risk of infection. However, things can quickly go downhill if you’re a regular smoker or suffer from issues like diabetes and hypertension. 

Root canals also have a high success rate, but you can never be sure that your tooth will survive until the end of the procedure. This is because the dentist can realize during the procedure that the decay is more extensive than they imagined.

Root canals, on the other hand, are unpredictable. The lastingness mainly depends on the initial damage to the tooth and how weak the root canal made it. So, the results can last for the rest of your life or not even a few years after the procedure. The crown also usually requires replacement after 5-15 years.

Conclusion

Choosing a root canal vs implant for a cracked tooth or infected tooth can be a difficult process. But now that you know all the main differences, you are better equipped to make a decision. 

Consulting with an expert on root canals and dental implants in Montclair, NJ, can also help clear things further. So book an appointment with us at Dr. Arthur Yeh & Associates today. Our dental implant and root canal services in Montclair, NJ, have led to many satisfied and happy patients. 

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