Implants vs. Root Canals: What’s Right For You? (Pros & Cons)

BY Dr. McDowell  |  January 5th, 2022
Dr. McDowell
Dr. McDowell has always been focused on using the latest technology to improve the patient experience. From radiation-free imaging to laser dentistry, he has always been ahead of the curve and is dedicated to improving the practice of dentistry one ..

If a tooth that’s decaying quickly causes a lot of pain or has damage so great that it’s impossible to repair, it might need a root canal.

Root canals remove your tooth’s infected and decaying pulp and fill in the gap with a replacement material. When combined with a crown to cover that filling, you’ll have an even stronger filling.

One other option that’s available instead of a root canal is a dental implant. These implants require that your tooth be removed, and a metal post along with a new tooth is placed there instead.

It’s hard to know what the right choice is when it comes to dental procedures but we’re here to help you make the right choice between an implant and crown.

Implants vs. Root Canals: How to Know What’s Right

Your dentist might not always give you a chance to choose between the two, but you can make the decision for yourself in some cases. A dental implant can be a better option for those who have an active lifestyle or want to avoid having another procedure in the future.

While both options are long-lasting and present both benefits and disadvantages depending primarily on your situation. That’s why it’s important to know some of the different options and opportunities that you can have for your mouth.

Let’s break down more of the pros and cons for both:

Pros and Cons of an Implant

Pros of an Implant

Implants can be a scary procedure, and having a metal post put in your mouth and having your old tooth pulled is a big deal. But, there are some useful benefits that are worth pointing out. Let’s start with the advantages:

Your Teeth Will Still Look Great

If you get an implant, people will hardly be able to tell that your tooth is fake. This is because there are no fillings or metal crowns and today’s technology allows dentists to match the color of your teeth very well.

Smiling senior woman with new dental implants sitting in the dental office and looking at the mirror

The New Tooth Will Function Properly

Implants won’t put any pressure on your other teeth. The post that’s installed to support it will keep it in place. Additionally, as soon as it’s healed, it will work as well as a new tooth. You won’t need to be careful or cautious about what you eat or chew with that tooth.

Implants can Last a Lifetime

Unlike most fillings, implants can last for a lifetime. If you take care of them and don’t have any dental problems, they could very well last longer than your other teeth. Of course, brushing and flossing along with regular dental cleanings and exams are essential if you want your teeth to last as long as possible.

Dentist with tooth implant false teeth.

Downsides of Dental Implants ❌

Like anything, there are some cons to implants. Here they are:

Dental Insurance Won’t Always Cover Cost

There’s a good chance that your insurance company won’t cover a dental implant. It’s hard to know why this is, but it could be because implants can be much more expensive than some of the alternative options. You might need to pay $3,000 – $5,000 out of pocket if you want an implant.

Patients consulting the dentist about dental insurance and implants vs. root canals

Invasive and Lengthy Treatment Process

As you might have learned already, the process of drilling a post into your mouth is quite invasive. This can lead to a sometimes longer treatment and recovery. Additionally, you’ll have to have the old tooth removed. This can be a very painful process. It’s not always the case, but implant treatments can take several visits.

Longer Recovery Process

As mentioned earlier, implant treatments can take a while to recover from. You might have to avoid drinking anything with ice for a few days to keep from feeling any extreme pain. You’ll also likely need to avoid solid or hard foods to avoid any complications.

woman experiencing tooth pain during implants vs. root canal recovery process

Pros and Cons of Root Canals

Root canals are the more familiar practice here, and they’ve been used for decades to help patients solve tooth problems. There’s both a reason they’ve been successfully used for so long and a reason that they’re sometimes challenged by other treatments such as implants. Here are some of the benefits of choosing a root canal.

Pros of a Root Canal

You Get to Keep Your Original Tooth

The infected tooth won’t need to be pulled out when a root canal is conducted. Instead, it will have its nerve removed and then filled and sealed. You’ll then have a crown put on the tooth to protect it and make sure that it lasts for years to come. This can also help your smile look great because there won’t be any new teeth introduced to your mouth.

The Treatment can be Painless

Many people are scared of root canals because they think the treatment will be painful. While the name can seem like it’s going to be a very painful treatment, it’s actually more likely that you won’t feel a thing during or after the treatment.

The Procedure is Often Very Affordable

Since a root canal doesn’t require any new teeth to be put in, it’s often less expensive than other treatments. You can expect to pay between $500 and $3,000. Dental insurance often covers the cost of root canals and crowns while you won’t be getting the same coverage for implants. But be sure to ask your provider what your policy covers.

Treatment Time is Fast

Most root canal treatments are completed within one or two appointments. You’ll get a temporary crown at the first appointment, and then the rest of the filling and a permanent crown will be installed after that.

Cons of Root Canals

These disadvantages are often what would lead someone to choose a different treatment option for their teeth. In some instances, root canals just aren’t possible.

Your Tooth is Could Be Too Damaged for a Root Canal

If the tooth is too damaged, a root canal might not be possible. In this case, you’ll likely have to get it pulled and then receive an implant instead. Unfortunately, you might still end up having to pay for some of the treatment for that root canal as well.

dentist in mask filling the patient's root canal

Complications Can Lead to Tooth Loss

If complications arise during the procedure, you may need to get your tooth removed. If not all of the infection is removed or the filling doesn’t adhere properly, you may need another procedure, or you may need to remove the tooth and get an implant.

Can Be Very Expensive Without Insurance

Insurance will usually cover all or most of a root canal. But, if they aren’t willing to help with costs for some reason, you’ll be in for some extremely high medical bills. In the instance that a root canal and dental crown are needed, it could be unaffordable.

What’s the Right Treatment for You?

Finding and determining the right treatment for you might come down to more than one dental visit or simply determining what dentist you would prefer working with. Finances and insurance can also make a big impact on your decision.

If you live in Minnesota and you’re looking for a dental provider to help you with a dental implant or root canal, our team at Wayzata Dental would be happy to offer a second opinion.

We’ve been serving our area for decades and have garnished thousands of 5-star reviews from customers receiving care just like the kind you’re looking for. Reach out to us today to schedule an appointment.

Dr. McDowell
Dr. McDowell has always been focused on using the latest technology to improve the patient experience. From radiation-free imaging to laser dentistry, he has always been ahead of the curve and is dedicated to improving the practice of dentistry one ..