Sometimes, a few teeth in our mouth become the prey of cavities and germs due to lack of oral hygiene efforts. This causes severe pain in the infected teeth as well as surrounding gums. In some cases, the infection reaches till the roots of these teeth and become a big problem for us.
In such conditions, dentists usually suggest two alternatives to restore your teeth and a pretty smile. The first one is the root canal, and the other is dental implants. Your dentist suggests which one is best for you as per your condition, but the decision of choosing between these two remains in your hands.
What is Root Canal?
The root canal is basically an effort to save your original infected tooth by removing the infection from its roots with the help of dental equipment. This procedure is used on the teeth whose roots are damaged.
In the procedure, the dentist will numb the infected area and create an opening in the crown of your tooth to access the roots. He will remove all the infected pulp from your roots through that hole with the help of different tools.
The process of removing infection takes place in 2-3 sittings as per your level of infection and healing capability. The dentist will fill up the emptied roots with permanent fillers to prevent future infections. He will seal your tooth with a crown; if required. The pain will gradually fade away as your tooth heals.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are used on teeth that are severely damaged, and the chances of saving them are very low. In such cases, the dentist suggests replacing the infected tooth with artificial implants instead of restoring it through the root canal.
The original tooth is removed after numbing the area. The dentist substitutes the empty space with a titanium implant after assuring that the wounds are properly healed. Surgery is performed to embed the implant into your jaw permanently. The dentist will place the crowns afterwards. This process is longer than the root canal.
Which One is better for you?
To understand which procedure can be better, we should analyse both the processes in the light of some points:
1. Success Rate:
The success rate of both the procedures highly depends upon the dentists that are performing these processes. The equipment of the dental clinic, the type of material used and the expertise of the dentists affect the success rates of both root canals as well as dental implants.
However, as per the researches, the success rate of root canal ranges between 92-97%, while the success rate of dental implant ranges between 95-99%. Moreover, the tooth undergone root canal has chances of getting the infection again after 4 to 8 years; which can be fixed only through the re-root canal or dental implants.
Dental implants are more costly than root canals. For placing dental implants, the dentist has to perform proper surgery. In addition, the artificial implants are created as per the person’s mouth size and shape of teeth. All of this requires more resources than a root canal. In addition, dental implants demand more sittings than the root canal.
3. Retaining Natural Tooth:
In a root canal, your natural tooth is saved, while you have to say goodbye to your infected natural tooth in the procedure of dental implants. Most of the dentists would suggest you take root canal over dental implants as they are more concerned about saving your natural tooth.
Dental implants are a very good option for getting rid of infection forever, but ultimately, nothing can actually substitute the powers and benefits of your natural teeth. You should consider this point before taking your final decision.
4. Performing a Surgery:
In the case of dental implants, surgery is involved. There is no other way of extracting your entire tooth and fixing the titanium implants in its place. You don’t have to undergo any surgery in case of the root canal. Patients who have problems with having mouth surgery or are highly afraid of surgeries usually prefer root canal over dental implants.
5. Aesthetic Aspect:
From the aesthetic aspect of your teeth and your smile, dental implants are better than root canals. How? In a root canal, your original tooth is restored, but in most of the cases, it undergoes the process of discolouration. Due to this, the tooth undergone root canal looks different or a little dull than the healthy ones. To fix this, dentists often take the help of dental cap or crowns.
A dental crown can fix the tooth colour issue after the root canal, but it can’t fix the natural alignment of your teeth; in case your teeth are irregular or poorly aligned naturally. On the other hand, alignment and discolouration isn’t an issue with dental implants; as you are going to get artificial tooth which will be totally aligned with your other teeth.
6. Time Span:
Considering the intensity of both the processes, the entire process of dental implants takes more time than the process of the root canal. The average time of an entire root canal process, from beginning to the last sitting, is around 6 months. During this time, you will have to visit your dentist 6 to 7 times; which depends upon your personalised needs.
On the other hand, the whole process of dental implants would take 9 to 10 months. The numbers of visits would be around 10 to 12 as per your healing capability and dental needs. It’s obvious that replacing a tooth with an artificial one needs more time than restoring the original one.
In the end, we would say that both root canal and dental implants have their merits and demerits. Both of these procedures have been beneficial for some patients while harmful to others. However, in some cases, your dentist can better guide you on what is best for you. Otherwise, you can make your choice on the basis of the factors discussed above.