A patient recently asked this great question during our routine dental exam. The question stemmed from the high success rates that have been found with dental implants over a ten year period. Should he bother saving his tooth with a root canal? Would it be better to take the tooth out and place a dental implant in the space? Let's review these procedures.
Root canal treatments are sometimes necessary to save a tooth, and it's viability can depend on the amount of tooth that is available to be restored and what a patient is willing to invest financially. Root canal treatments are like fillings that extend into the canals found in the root of each tooth. It involves a process of cleaning, shaping, and rinsing the canals to clean the infected nerve of the tooth. A rubberized filling material is then used to seal the canals to prevent re-population in the canal with bacteria that may have previously caused tooth sensitivity. The long term success of root canal treatment is dependent on a patients' caries activity, oral hygiene, and diet. If all factors are ideal, root canal treatment can extend the life of a tooth at least 10 years. Restoring a tooth into a functional state can be better than a man made material (a dental implant), so your dentist can help you weigh all available options.
Implants are also great way of maintaining space and bone in an area where a tooth is planned for removal. A dental implant is like a screw placed into the bone in the space of the removed tooth. The implant integrates with the bone, and then a crown can be attached to the screw. It allows one to function and benefit from the esthetic results of a porcelain crown. Dental implants have a 99% success rate. This success is dependent on the amount of bone around the implant, the forces exerted on the crown, and the medical condition of the patient. Every tooth (and every patient!) is different, so please consult your local dentist for more information and advice regarding the best treatment for you.
Dr. Hyatt’s Dental Corner
As your family advocate for dental care we would like to provide you with some tips on how to save your money and have a beautiful smile.