Root canals vs. implants: Which treatment is best?


In the past, when the pulp became damaged in a tooth usually due to tooth decay or trauma, your dentist usually offered one of two treatments; a root canal and then a crown to restore the tooth structure or an extraction which would then require a bridge or a removable partial denture to restore the empty space. A reliable third option is to extract the damaged tooth and place a dental implant. A recent review found those treatments achieved virtually equal success when it comes to the survival of the root canal treated tooth or an implant replacement.

The review, published in a 2007 supplement to the International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Implants, looked at 68 related studies and found no significant differences in the survival of compromised teeth that had either been restored with root canal therapy followed by a crown or replaced by a single tooth implant.

That means the decision to treat a tooth with a root canal or replace it with an implant should be based on such factors as the complexity of your case, your individual health, or your preference.

Your dentist can explain the pluses and minuses of each approach.



“Dental Implants.” American Association of Endodontists. Accessed 2013.

“For Teeth Requiring Endodontic Treatment, What Are the Differences in Outcomes of Restored Endodontically Treated Teeth Compared to Implant-Supported Restorations?” M.K. Iqbal and S. Kim. The International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Implants. 2007, vol. 22, supplement, pp. 96–116. Abstract: Accessed 2013.

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