Dentist Questions Root Canal

Which is better, root canal or implant?

My dentist gave me two options for my back molar: root canal or tooth implant. I was thinking the tooth implant might be the better option, but I'm not really sure. What would you recommend?

12 Answers

I would recommend a zirconia implant.
Always keep your own teeth. Root canal treatment is a safe procedure.
Good question! Historically, root canals have been the standard of care to preserve affected teeth. The idea being it saves your own tooth while eliminating pain and infection. As implants have become ever more popular and available, there is, depending on who you talk to, an ever growing number of dentists and patients opting for implant therapy over root canal therapy. Having said that, I think there are many factors which would help in determining which I would recommend. The amount of tooth structure/damage, location of tooth, adjacent teeth and opposing teeth, as well as cost, length of treatment and desired outcome. I believe this is something that you and your dentist would need to discuss and come to a decision on. Not an easy question to answer. Both have their place and reason.
If root canal is done well, it's a priority
Interesting question. As health care providers we are to provide you with all the options and consequences allowing you to make the final informed decision. That being said, I personally feel if a tooth is given a fair to good prognosis I would try and keep it. However, if the prognosis is poor to guarded, and implant may make more sense. Root canals have been given a bad rap, but scientifically are sound and do work. Hope this helps.
This is a very good question than really should be answered case by case, depending on the tooth, its condition, and the availability of bone. If the tooth can be reliably treated and there is good remaining tooth structure, then a root canal and crown are a good option. If the tooth is acceptable, but not a great tooth, it would be a good idea to see a 3D X-ray to evaluate the bone to know if the tooth was removed, then there was sufficient bone for an implant. This is a situation where we are basically on the fence. If the tooth has a great deal of bone loss surrounding the tooth because of a longstanding abscess and the tooth is severely broken down, then removing the tooth and possibly doing a bone graft in the extraction site may be warranted. If the tooth has previously had a root canal and we are considering a re-treatment, then I tend to lean toward removing the tooth and placing an implant. If the tooth was severely decayed and the patient is very decay-prone, that will also push me toward removing the tooth and placing an implant. Careful evaluation is important in each case and a good, thorough conversation with the dentist is a must. I want patients to know everything about their options.

Dr. Daniel A. Lieblong
If there is enough tooth structure to restore with a crown then I believe saving a tooth with a root canal/crown is usually a better option.
It depends on how broken down the tooth is...maintaining your natural tooth is preferable if it has good remaining tooth structure after the Root canal therapy
I've practiced almost 40 years and would prefer the root canal. I believe in keeping as much natural structure for as long as possible, nothing man-made is as good as what nature has provided. The disadvantage is that the root canal or crown will eventually fail. But that could be 5-15 years, and implants will be better and less expensive in the future.
If the tooth has healthy bone and gum tissue supporting it and if the tooth has adequate tooth structure to support a crown after a root canal has been done - it is usually better to save the natural tooth by having a root canal performed. It is usually a more natural result and less expensive to save a natural tooth with a root canal and crown compared to extracting a tooth and doing an implant and crown.
It depends on your situation and the prognosis of your tooth. If you have adequate bone level, the truth is nonverbal and has the majority of his tooth structure remaining, then my personal opinion would be to save the tooth and a root canal followed by full coverage porcelain crown. On the other hand, if there is bone loss present (40% or more bone loss), or if there is minimal coronal tooth structure remaining and/or multiple defected/missing walls present, then my professional opinion would be to remove the tooth and place an implant.

I hope it’s better determined what the proper approach would be in your specific situation.

David Shouhed, DDS
If it’s a straight forward root canal, I would do the root canal unless the tooth is compromised, has had root canal and crown & this is a retreat then I would consider an implant!