Root Canal vs. Dental Implant
Root Canal Therapy or Extraction? Should I Repair? Or Should I Remove it? which one is the way to go? These are common questions and dilemmas for many patients who rush into their dentist with a severe toothache, Dentist Brisbane Says.
In this short article, I try to explain the two options for dealing with a badly infected tooth in adults for the infected tooth in children see Brisbane kids dentist.
Tooth Parts and Tissues
There are four major tissue types in the human tooth. The hardest tissue of the tooth is enamel. It is the hardest part in the body. The softest part of the tooth is in the middle of the tooth and contains blood vessels, nerves and some other tissues. The soft tissue extends to the root of the tooth inside a chamber. This chamber is like a canal and is called the root canal.
The hard tissues of the tooth protect the tooth very well but a deep decay or crack can cause pain and infection in the soft tissue. An infected root canal can cause swelling that may spread to the face and the neck. In this stage the tooth is badly damaged and you should see a dentist as soon as possible.
When a severe infection in a tooth requires endodontic treatment, a treatment is performed to eliminate bacteria from the infected root canal, prevent reinfection of the tooth and save the natural tooth.
Root Canal Therapy (RCT)
During the tooth examination your dentist will consider the history of the tooth and will check the X-ray images to figure out if the tooth is restorable. If the tooth requires root canal treatment, they can eliminate bacteria from the infected root canal and also prevent reinfection to save your tooth. When they find the soft tissue of the tooth to be infected or damaged. During Root Canal therapy, dentists drills the tooth to access the pulp. Then they remove the dead or infected parts from the root canal, clean the inside of the canal and finally seal it. This process can cause the structure of the tooth to become brittle and in some cases to reinforce the structure of the tooth, further treatment is required e.g. a dental crown.
RCT is a repair technique that dentists use to restore a badly decayed or infected tooth in an attempt to save the tooth. RCT should be the first treatment approach, however, when the tooth is damaged in such a way that it cannot be restored with an RCT, then extraction would be the only option.
For many patients, the difficult choise between RCT and extraction is when there is no certainty on the long term success of the RCT. Consider the spectrum of tooth damage, on one end of the spectrum, you have a slightly-damaged pulp and on the other end of the spectrum you have a beyond-repair damaged pulp.
With the slightly-damaged pulp, you can expect an RCT with a high level of success (successful repair of the tooth). However as you get closer to the other end of damage spectrum, the success rate of RCT can decrease. This means that you might decide to go ahead and invest in a Root Canal Therapy but due to extensive damage, the repair may fail in long run and you will need to repeat the RCT and sometimes remove that whole tooth.
Nevertheless, some patients decide to try to save their natural tooth with an RCT and avoid extraction as much as possible. Many dentists agree with this approach because even with today’s best dental implant technology, there is still no 100% replacement for a natural tooth. Nothing feels or functions like a natural tooth and many patients and dentists believe that it should be saved when possible.
Maintenance of RCT vs Implant
In general, RCT should be combined with a suitable restoration method e.g. a dental crown. Crowning of the tooth allows the tooth to be strong again. On the other side, if you decide to remove the tooth and have a dental implant, you should be aware that dental implants require a higher level of maintenance. i.e. there are certain foods that you should avoid chewing with your implant when you decide to have a dental implant in your mouth. This the reason why natural tooth is so valuable and with current technology nothing can replace a natural tooth even the best implants in the market.
Pain of Root Canal Treatment
The RCT procedure itself should be a painless dental procedure. Many patients are afraid of the this procedure because they are under the impression that RCT hurts. Root Canal Therapy is normally done under local anaesthesia and it does not hurt at all. For patients, an RCT procedure feels similar to changing an old filling.
Pain after Tooth Extraction
The only alternative treatment to RCT is unfortunately Tooth extraction and replacement of the natural tooth with an artificial tooth. Tooth extraction can also be done under local anaesthesia and therefore should be painless however, tooth extraction is the most traumatic dental treatment. Most extractions proceed without any complications but there will be some level of post-extraction pain after a tooth is removed. Extraction also involves the risk of dry socket but is in general treatable if you return to your dentist.
Cost of RCT + Crown vs Extraction + Implant
In general, the option of extraction followed by a dental implant tend to be more expensive than the root canal therapy combined with a suitable restoration (e.g. a dental crown). However, the second option tends to be a quicker treatment and is intended to save and keep the natural tooth. The first option is used to replace the tooth with an artificial one.
Quality Dentistry enhances lives! the overall health and well-being of the patient is the highest priority for dentists. Patients should be in control of their decision regarding dental treatment options. Consult with your dentist and they should be able to provide you with more information that will help you make a decision.