Despite the fact that modern dentistry has made root canals more comfortable than ever, many people still dread root canals because of how painful they were in the past. Oftentimes, this can cause people to avoid visiting their dentist even if they are suffering from tooth pain. Only when the pain is unbearable will they finally schedule a root canal for relief. However, root canals are not the only option for dealing with a severe toothache caused by damage or decay. In fact, you can avoid the root canal procedure altogether by simply opting to have a dental implant placed.
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that will fuse with the surrounding bone and provide support to a dental crown. When a natural tooth is severely damaged or decayed, it can be extracted and a dental implant can be used as its replacement. Although this may not sound like a better option at first, here are some reasons why you should choose dental implants over a root canal:
Dental Implants have a Higher Success Rate
One of the biggest reasons why you should consider having a dental implant placed instead of a root canal is because dental implants have a much higher chance of success. While root canals are effective, they can fail if any bit of the infection is left in the tooth. This can sometimes happen when the root canals are extremely narrow or curvy. Conversely, dental implants have a 98% success rate and rarely fail.
Avoid Multiple Root Canals
When even a tiny amount of bacteria are left in the tooth, it can cause another infection that will need root canal retreatment or an apicoectomy. An apicoectomy is a procedure that makes an incision in the gums to remove infected tissue and part of the tooth root. It has a 50-90% success rate and sometimes results in the tooth needing to be extracted. Subsequent root canals also increase the risk that the remaining tooth structure will become too damaged to support a dental crown and require extraction anyway. Therefore, having a dental implant placed can prevent multiple root canals and endodontic procedures.
Dental Implants Look and Function Like Natural Teeth
One main reason people often opt for a root canal is simply because it allows them to keep their natural tooth. However, dental implants are nearly indistinguishable from natural teeth both in terms of appearance and function. In fact, an implant-supported crown may even be able to function better than a dental crown placed over a tooth compromised by decay.
Dental Implants Last Longer
Assuming the root canal treatment is successful, the dental crown being used to restore your tooth will last around 10-15 years before needing to be replaced. Furthermore, depending on the state of your tooth, it may not be able to handle a crown replacement. Dental implants, on the other hand, last for decades and will likely outlive the lifespan of a root canal and crown. Even when the implant-supported crown wears out, it can easily be replaced without requiring further invasive treatments.
Irfan Atcha, DDS, DICOI, DADIA at New Teeth Chicago Dental in Chicago, Illinois is a board-certified general dentist and a nationally recognized expert in dental implants, cosmetic dentistry, and sedation dentistry.