Dental Implants vs. Root Canals

Dental implants and root canals are used to replace lost teeth. While these two involve different approaches, their success rates are almost equal. However, dental implants may require more maintenance when compared with root canals.

Dental implants are artificial teeth that are implanted in the place of lost teeth. These are usually made of commercially pure titanium or other alloys of titanium and are implanted into the tooth socket by surgery. Once implanted, the implant fuses with the bone and fulfills the all the functions of the lost tooth.

Nowadays, dentists and patients are preferring the use dental implants in place of dentures and bridges. A dental implant is an artificial tooth that is attached to the bone of the jaw by a surgical procedure. An anchor is inserted in the jawbone, and after the nearby gum tissue and bone has recovered from the surgical procedure, a post is attached to the anchor. An artificial tooth i.e. the crown made of porcelain, metal, or plastic is fixed to the post. This performs the functions of the lost tooth.

On the other hand, a root canal is a procedure that saves decayed teeth. Endodontists opt for root canal therapy on teeth where the pulp has decayed and must be removed. It is used when the pulp of the tooth has decayed completely due to large scale bacterial infections. In root canal treatment, the pulp is completely removed and replaced with artificial materials. Then a crown is cemented over it. The crown is usually made of materials such as gold, plastic or porcelain.

Recent studies reveal that both dental implants and root canals have similar success rates. A recent study conducted by scientists of the University of Alabama at Birmingham finds both dental implants and root canals have success rates of 98-99%. The study involved 129 dental implants and 143 root canals observed for three years. The results of the study are published in the Journal of Endodontics.

The main difference in the effectiveness of dental and root canals comes in follow-up maintenance. Dental implants need more maintenance and intervention when compared to root canals. The study found that in 12% of the cases, intervention was needed after dental implants were implanted. On the other hand, only in 1% of root canals needed intervention.

In conclusion, both root canal treatment and artificial dental implants are equally effective in case of lost teeth. If you have lost teeth wish to get them replaced, contact your dentist for the option that may be suitable for you.