At a quick glance, a dental implant and a root canal seem like similar procedures. Both dental procedures essentially restore a damaged tooth. However, these procedures are extremely different in terms of the actual process, price, and appearance. Here are some things to know about these two common dental procedures.
What is a Root Canal?
During a root canal, a dentist removes infected tooth pulp from the inside of your tooth and fills it with a biocompatible substance. The dentist then covers the tooth with a crown or a bridge, typically made from impressions taken in advance. The root of the tooth remains in your jaw.
Pros and Cons of Root Canals
Compared to dental implants, root canals are more affordable and require less recovery time. However, for a dentist to perform a root canal, you need to still have the root intact. A dentist cannot do a root canal on a severely damaged tooth. Additionally, root canals generally don’t last as long as dental implants do.
What is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is considered a permanent replacement for a missing tooth. A post is implanted in the jawbone and given time to heal. Once healed, a crown is placed on top of the post.
Pros and Cons of Dental Implants
Dental implants look and function like regular teeth. The dental implant can last up to 25 years, which is much longer than other restorative dental procedures, which may only last for 10 to 15 years before requiring replacement. On the downside, you need a certain amount of healthy bone in your jaw to place an implant. Without it, as is the case with long term tooth loss, you won’t be a candidate for a dental implant and will either need to pursue another option or have bone grafting first. Dental implants also cost more money and require more appointments at the dentist.
How to Decide Between a Root Canal or a Dental Implant
In a general sense, it is usually better to preserve the tooth whenever possible. If you have existing roots, your dentist may recommend that you do the root canal first. Aside from this recommendation from your dentist, dental implants are considered the gold standard of care. Dental implants last longer, function more like real teeth, and look better. Unless the cost of treatment is a prohibitive factor for you or you lack the necessary bone material, it may make sense to replace very badly damaged or rotting teeth with dental implants.
In addition, you may want to consider your age and your overall health. If you’re a senior citizen, the longevity of a dental implant might be less of a factor for you. You may never need to replace the root canal over the course of your lifetime. If you need many teeth replaced, opting for dentures might make more sense in your situation.
Ready to Get Started?
If you are ready to start your journey toward better dental health, contact A&R Advanced Dental Group today at 845-364-9400 (Pomona) or 718-376-1666 (Brooklyn) to schedule your first appointment.