Should I Save This Tooth or Replace It With An Implant?
One of the most common questions we find our patients face in regards to saving or losing single teeth is whether or not they should spend their hard earned money (and their time) on doing (or re-doing) a root canal in order to save the tooth or if they should just remove the tooth and replace it with an implant. If you are, or if you have faced this decision you likely know exactly what I am talking about.
There are several factors involved in making this kind of decision. On this post I will attempt to address some of them in simple terms.
“Which one will last longer . . . a root canal and a crown or removing the tooth and replacing it with an implant?”
If a root canal has never been done on this tooth before and a root canal is now needed research has shown that either doing a root canal and placing a crown on it or removing the tooth and placing an implant can both last a long, long time. However, if a root canal has been done previously and needs to be done again it will likely not last as long as an implant would.
One important factor with longevity is whether or not a crown is placed on your tooth after the root canal is done. Research shows that if a root canal is done on a back tooth and a crown is not placed on the tooth you are six times more likely to have the tooth break. If this happens you may not have a choice but to remove the tooth and place an implant. Bottom Line: If you choose to do a root canal on a back tooth in order to save the tooth, put a crown on the tooth within one month of having the root canal done.
Neither doing a root canal and a crown nor removing a tooth and placing an implant are inexpensive. On average, if you are going to do a root canal and a crown you will spend between $1500 and $2200. To remove the tooth and replace it with an implant you will spend somewhere between $3000 and $3500.
Health of the Tooth
In our experience this has been one of the most important factors in determining how successful a root canal and a crown will be. If a lot of the tooth has broken or if there is a large cavity in the tooth there will not be very much of the tooth left for the crown to hold on to. And if there is minimal healthy tooth structure left the crown will likely break off of the tooth after the root canal has been done. When this happens usually the only option you have left is to remove the tooth and replace it with an implant.
Overall Physical Health
In some cases your health may determine which treatment to pursue. There are certain physical conditions that make it ill-advised to remove any teeth and place implants. In these cases you may have no choice but to try to save the tooth by doing a root canal and a crown.
These physical health conditions are best evaluated by your dentist at the Barry Family Dental Group. Before considering removing any tooth or any other surgical procedure we will conduct a thorough questioning of your physical health to determine whether you are healthy enough for the procedures required for dental implants.
How attached, emotionally, are you to this tooth? Are you the kind of person who wants to keep every single tooth for as long as possible no matter what the cost or the hassle you must go through? Or, are you the kind of person who simply wants the least expensive treatment possible with the best result possible? Does the thought of a root canal bother you? What about oral surgery?
In making this decision this is likely the single most influential driving factor in making this decision. How attached are you to your teeth?
There are many things to consider in deciding whether a tooth should be removed or saved. If you or a loved one are currently facing this decision please call us and set up a consultation appointment with one of our Dentists. We would be happy to provide you with information and recommendations to help you with this important decision.
Dr. David Barry, DMD
Dr. David Barry, DMD