Do you have a tooth that gives you pain or has extensive decay? If so, your dentist may recommend that you get a root canal or dental implant to fix the issue.
When you get a root canal, your dentist can save your tooth by removing the infected pulp and filling it with a replacement material. You can combine this treatment with a crown if necessary.
A dental implant, on the other hand, requires removing your original tooth and installing a metal post in your jawbone. Your dentist can then screw a dental crown so that you can chew normally.
Wondering whether a root canal vs implant is right for you? Read on to compare both of these options and find out which you prefer.
Benefits of a Root Canal
Here are some of the main benefits of getting a root canal with or without a crown.
You Don’t Lose Your Original Tooth
When comparing a dental implant vs root canal, the main benefit is that you maintain your original tooth with a root canal so you can expect to maintain a natural smile. Of course, you may need a crown to fix significant decay. But you’ll still have some of the original structure for a crown to attach to.
You May Pay Less for the Procedure
Another key benefit is seen when you compare root canal vs implant cost. You may end up paying between $300 and $2,500 for a root canal compared to $3,000 to $4,500 for an implant. But keep in mind that insurance will often cover root canals and crowns while coverage for implants is harder to find.
The Treatment Takes Less Time
The root canal process also takes less time than a dental implant. You’ll usually go to one or two appointments and possibly wait a short period to get a permanent crown is needed. In the meantime, you can get the benefit of a temporary crown while you wait.
The Process Is Nearly Painless
Also know that while you might have heard otherwise, the root canal process is mostly painless with a smooth recovery time. Since your tooth won’t get removed, you won’t have to worry about feeling pulling during your procedure. You also won’t have to wait for your gums to heal from an extraction.
Downsides of a Root Canal
While root canals offer many benefits, they also have these downsides you should consider.
Your Tooth May Be Too Damaged for the Procedure
One downside of a root canal is that there’s some risk that the tooth you want to save won’t survive in the end. Your dentist may discover that your tooth decay is so severe that they can’t do a root canal to save your tooth.
Complications Can Lead to Tooth Loss
Complications can also happen after the procedure. For example, issues like abscesses can happen if not all of the infected pulp got removed. This can mean needing an extraction.
They Can Get Expensive Without Insurance
And while usually cheaper than implants, root canals can still come at a high cost. If you need both the root canal and crown, you can find your costs rise to an unaffordable level. This especially can happen when you lack good dental insurance.
Benefits of a Dental Implant
Here are some reasons you might consider a dental implant over a root canal.
The Aesthetics Are Still Great
While you don’t keep your natural tooth, you can still get good aesthetics with a dental implant. Your dentist will carefully craft the tooth and make its color match your other teeth to blend in well.
Your Tooth Will Function Well
You also get the benefit of the high level of functionality you’re used to with your natural teeth. You can still eat the foods you love easily and won’t experience the speech problems that some dentures can cause. Even better, dental implants offer convenience comparable to your real teeth.
Your Implant Will Usually Last You a Long Time
If you’ve got longevity in mind, know that dental implants can last you for much longer than a root canal and crown. They have a low failure rate and can last decades with good care. With a root canal, you may still end up with your tooth failing or needing to replace crowns after five to 15 years.
Downsides of a Dental Implant
You’ll also want to consider these downsides of getting a dental implant in making your decision.
Your Insurance Probably Won’t Help Pay for Implants
The benefits of a dental implant come at a cost that can make this option more challenging to afford. Since dental insurance plans often exclude implants, you’re often left to pay the $3,000 to $4,500 cost for one tooth out of pocket. This often means having to apply for financing through your dentist’s office or CareCredit.
The Treatment Process Is More Invasive and Lengthy
Another drawback is that the process of getting a dental implant requires a much more extensive process. First, you have to get your natural tooth removed and allow for some time for your gums to heal. You then have several more trips to prepare your jawbone for the process, place the implants, install your artificial teeth, and monitor recovery.
You’ll Have a Longer Recovery Period
The invasiveness of the process means that you’ll spend time between different treatment stages waiting for your mouth to heal. You’ll also need to deal with pain and swelling involved as well as modify your diet to eat softer foods. You’ll also need to watch out for complications that can happen.
Root Canal vs Implant: Making Your Decision
Your dentist will ultimately consider your dental needs and help you decide between a root canal vs implant. Your choice will often depend on your budget, dental issue, and preferences.
If your tooth has significant decay and you’re fine with the higher cost and more involved process, you may find opting for an implant as better for the long term. But if you prefer keeping your own tooth and understand the risks, a root canal can be a more affordable and less invasive option.
Whether you decide to go with a root canal or implant, we’re ready to help.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment.