Patients and dentists often face the dilemma whether to save a diseased tooth via a root canal treatment or replace the tooth with a dental implant. While some dentists have a preference for one treatment or another, most dentists treat every patient – and every tooth – as a unique case.
Root Canal Treatment
Deep tooth decay or accident trauma can damage the pulp of the tooth, the soft inner part that includes the nerves and blood vessels. The root canal is the hollow portion of the tooth that contains this pulp. In a root canal treatment, the dentist removes the pulp from the tooth through a hole in the top of the tooth. The dentist then fills the hollow tooth down to the tip of the root with a long lasting, rubbery material Either a hard filling or crown are then used to restore the tooth to its normal function.
The success of root canal treatment is very likely, but not certain. Sometimes it is unable to remove all the pulp or infection. After a root canal the tooth is essentially dead, and so will begin to decay naturally over time. As this occurs, the microbes degenerate into viruses and other pathological microbiota that can migrate into the general body circulation, possibly attacking the body’s other organs.
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that anchor crowns to the dental bone. Replacing a tooth with an implant requires time and planning. After taking a thorough medical history, the dentist will create models of the patient’s teeth and then work together with the surgeon on where to place the implant. Dental implants are a reliable, aesthetic, and long-lasting restoration.
Implant retained crowns are not susceptible to tooth decay, but gum disease may cause an implant to fail prematurely. Dental implants are not a good option for patients who take certain medications, or those with untreated diabetes. Implants also create disturbances along the body’s meridians, or energy pathways, which can cause illness to other organs along the same meridians.
Ultimately patient preference plays a big role in determining whether a root canal treatment or dental implant is used. Time is a major factor. Some would prefer to keep the natural tooth, while others may prefer to invest the time and remove the diseased tooth. Both treatments are expensive, but certain insurance companies may prefer one method.
Ultimately, the patient’s health and specific oral care needs to be the most important consideration when weighing treatment options.