Tooth decay is caused by many things: a diet high in sugar, dry mouth, even simply aging. And, to put it plainly, watching a tooth or teeth deteriorate is demoralizing.

It can feel like we are powerless while a tooth decays, but thanks to advancements in dentistry and the expertise of Drs. Ken and Marnie Collins, you have a few choices for permanent and natural-looking solutions to tooth decay.

The two most common answers to tooth decay are root canals and dental implants; but how do you know which option is right for you? There are a few things to consider.

Save the Tooth If Possible

A root canal recommendation is often met with anxiety, but it’s important to consider the benefits of root canal therapy before even thinking about a dental implant. The No. 1 reason to choose a root canal over a dental implant is simple: root canals save some of the natural tooth, whereas a dental implant removes and replaces the tooth entirely. Panelists at a 2015 American Dental Association presentation agreed that saving the tooth should be a top priority.

During a root canal, Drs. Ken and Marnie Collins will remove the decaying parts of the tooth, fill and reseal the tooth to prevent further decay. After a short period of readjustment to the new crown, any pain associated with the original tooth decay will disappear.

However, when tooth decay has rendered the tooth irrecoverable, or when the efficacy of a root canal is questionable in your case, it is time to weigh your options.

Implanted Tooth, Recovered Youth

If the tooth – or many teeth – become irrecoverable, it may be time to skip the root canal in favor of a dental implant. Once again, the idea of removing a tooth or teeth can be anxiety-inducing, and again, there is no need for concern. Not only do dental implants look natural and beautiful, implant maintenance is no different from your natural teeth; just keep brushing twice and flossing once each day and the implant can last for decades.

Implants may be a second suggestion following root canal therapy and one of the few options for those who have lost a tooth entirely, but that does not make them second best. A 2015 paper combined studies of dental implants with 10-plus-year follow-up periods. The studies had a mean dental implant survival rate of 95 percent, reaffirming the safety and efficacy of dental implants. Another 2015 paper comparing studies found a higher survival rate among implants than among teeth treated with root canal microsurgery after four to six years. Finally, a 2018 study compared survival rate of dental implants versus root canal treatment– 98 percent versus 73 percent respectively.

Plus, many patients are happy to hear that dental implants can make you look younger. Bone deterioration in the jaw and mouth can make the skin look loose. Building up your bone and your bite tightens up skin in the lower third of the face, rejuvenating the face.

Schedule an Appointment – We Can Help You Decide

If the choice between a dental implant or a root canal has you stumped, Drs. Ken and Marnie Collins are always happy to sit down with you to discuss your options, offer recommendations and answer questions.

To schedule an appointment for root canal therapy, a dental implant or for a consultation to find out what is right for you, call Collins Dentistry & Aesthetics in Spokane at (509) 532-1111 or click here to book an appointment online.