If you have a tooth that is infected, you have two options to deal with the problem. One option is to get root canal therapy, which will remove the infection and restore the tooth to a natural appearance and good function. The other option is to have the tooth removed and replaced, ideally with a dental implant.
Usually, these two options are comparable: both have good success rates and both have the potential to last for a long time. However, sometimes there is one factor that can speak against root canal therapy: a tooth might be left weakened after root canal therapy. Here are some factors to consider that might influence your decision.
How Much Tooth Will Be Left?
Root canal therapy always involves removing natural tooth material. A dentist has to drill into the tooth to remove the infected material. The access hole has to be large enough to allow the dentist to thoroughly clean the tooth. That can mean removing a substantial portion of the tooth. And if the tooth decay is in an unfortunate location, this can mean removing even more of the tooth.
When the tooth material is removed, it will be replaced with reinforcing structures within the tooth, as well as a dental crown to protect the tooth. When all is said and done, there may be more replacement material than tooth. This can make the treated tooth more likely to break. If we think that there won’t be much of the natural tooth left, we might recommend dental implants over root canal therapy.
How Strong Are Your Teeth?
Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the body, but it’s also brittle. Under the enamel is the dentin and cementum, which are comparable to bone in their hardness and toughness.
However, not everyone’s teeth are equally strong. Just as some people are more vulnerable to broken bones, some people are more vulnerable to broken teeth. If you already have a history of teeth breaking and chipping, then root canal therapy might not be the best option. Dental implants, on the other hand, are always strong because they are made of titanium.
How well a root canal treated tooth can survive the environment of your mouth depends in part on how much force the tooth has to withstand. Many dentists don’t adequately take this into account, but since Dr. Don Lowrance is a neuromuscular dentist, he looks at all parts of the bite system and can tell what level of force a tooth is likely to be subjected to. If the tooth might have to endure excessive force, we might recommend against root canal therapy.
Dental implants are strong enough to deal with bite forces in your mouth. They are strong and well-built, with a fracture rate of only 0.2% (2 in 1000).
Are Dental Implants a Better Option for You?
If you are considering how to deal with an infected tooth, it’s important to consider the option of replacing the lost tooth with a dental implant. During your consultation, we will discuss the benefits and limitations of all your options to decide which is the best one for you.