Dental Implants vs Root Canal: What You Should Know

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When a tooth is badly broken down, whether by deep decay or fracture, the nerve of the tooth can be compromised and become painful. A decision must be made about the restorability of the tooth. If plenty of tooth structure is available, a root canal procedure will eliminate the symptoms and allow the tooth to be restored back to form and function. If too much of the tooth is compromised and has a poor prognosis, it must be removed. Occasionally, a tooth is broken down in a way that compromises the gum tissue but the tooth is restorable. A procedure to reposition the gum tissue can be performed to allow the tooth to be restored.

The current school of thought is that teeth are worth saving rather than removing them. In cases where there is a poor prognosis, implants have revolutionized the ability to restore dentitions.

How these procedures work and how they are used differs from one patient to the next. Here’s what you should know about dental implants and root canals.

What is a Root Canal? 

All teeth are hollow. There is a chamber in the tooth that connects to canals in the root of the tooth. This is where the pulp resides. The pulp is a soft tissue that consists of blood vessels and nerves. Deep decay, fracture or trauma can injure the pulp and become infected.

A root canal procedure involves removing the pulp from inside of the root canal and sealing it hermetically. This procedure cleans out the bacteria and infected tissue and prevents the tooth from being reinfected. Then the tooth can be restored with composite filling or fitted with a crown depending on the degree of damage to the tooth itself.

What is a Dental Implant?

A dental implant is an artificial tooth and root system. It is used when a tooth is too damaged to restore and needs to be removed. Dental implants can also replace teeth that are already missing. They look and function just like a natural tooth.

The implant root consists of a titanium post that is surgically placed in the jaw bone where the natural tooth root used to be. Titanium is a biocompatible metal that will fuse with the existing bone of the jaw to form a solid bond. Once the implant root is fully osseointegrated (fused with the bone), the abutment and crown can be attached to the top.

How and When Are These Procedures Used?

When do you need a root canal and when do you need a dental implant? It depends on your situation.

  • Hypothetical Scenario: Your tooth is aching. You go to the dentist and they examine your tooth and take X-Rays to see the extent of the damage beneath the gum line. It appears your tooth is infected, but the majority of your enamel is still intact. Your dentist will likely perform a root canal procedure to save your natural tooth and keep it in place.
  • Hypothetical Scenario: Your tooth is loose in your gums. You go to the dentist and they examine your tooth and take X-Rays to see what is happening below the gum line. X-Rays show that the root has begun to deteriorate underneath your gums. There is not enough healthy enamel or tooth root left to restore it or perform a root canal. Your dentist will most likely suggest extracting the tooth and replacing it with a dental implant.
  • Hypothetical Scenario: You have a cavity that shows up in your yearly X-Rays during a routine dental exam. Even though it is just a cavity, the X-Ray images show that the cavity is deep enough to have reached the inner pulp of the tooth. Your dentist may recommend a root canal in addition to a cavity filling to ensure the tooth is not, and will not, become infected.

There are many other situations that could result in your dentist recommending a root canal or a dental implant. Listening to your dentist’s recommendation is always the right choice because they have your best interest in mind when it comes to your dental health.

Golia Dental Provides Root Canal and Dental Implant Services

If you’re having trouble with a tooth, Golia Dental can diagnose the problem and recommend the best course of treatment. Sometimes a root canal may be necessary to restore a tooth. Sometimes a tooth is beyond restoration and needs to be replaced. Dr. Golia will recommend the best option for your unique situation based on years of experience and your specific dental history.

Call (203) 248-7400 today to schedule an appointment. We look forward to restoring your tooth in whatever way is best for you.