Dental Implant or Root Canal – Cost and Value Comparison

Although I am considered a dental implant specialist by a credentialing board and my peers let me first start by saying that saving your natural teeth is my FIRST priority.

Dental implants are fantastic, but they are a close “second” to your natural teeth. The question is more about “restorability” of your remaining tooth when deciding whether to have a root canal and keep your tooth, or to extract it have a dental implant replacement.

A root canal is a procedure to treat a dead or dying tooth. It is usually a result of a deep cavity touching the nerve or coming very close to the nerve. Some root canals are done to save a tooth that has suffered trauma like a hit to the mouth from a bike accident.

The inside of the tooth and roots are hallowed out and the nerves removed.  This leaves the tooth weak, brittle and prone to fracture so a crown or onlay is made to “cap” over the tooth. A crown or onlay prevents your tooth with a root canal from breaking. So the crown is EQUALLY important as the root canal.

A crown or onlay’s longevity is mostly based on how much of your own tooth remains. So if your tooth had a huge cavity that went under the gumline and then a root canal, you have very little tooth structure left. A tooth post or build-up does NOT add strength to the tooth. It just gives the crown a bit more to grab onto.

Too often I see root canals done on near hopeless teeth.  They have a crown made on a hopeless tooth, and it falls out or fails very prematurely.

That to me is just not right. You may have invested $2000 -$3000 for the root canal, crown, post and build up only to have it extracted in just a few years!

When your tooth is badly damaged, the cost of a dental implant makes a lot more sense than having a root canal and crown on your tooth that does not have a good long-term prognosis.

Can the really bad tooth in this picture be predictably saved?


It is better to extract it and place an implant which is far cheaper in the long-term than a root canal and crown. If the tooth is savable with a root canal for the long-term, that is what I would do in my own mouth or my family’s mouth.

A dental implant placed by me has a 99% success rate as opposed to a root canal on a very compromised tooth that may only have a 40-50% survival rate at 10 years!

If your tooth is restorable, by all means have the root canal. If not, the cost of a dental implant makes more sense in the long term. It does not cost that much more for something that will probably last your life.

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4 Responses to Dental Implant or Root Canal – Cost and Value Comparison

  1. christy walton says:

    Dental Implant or Root Canal – Cost and Value Comparison
    <– Great!

  2. Connie says:

    thank you Dr. Amin for a very well written article. I learned so much from this blog..

  3. JoAnn Bentley says:

    This is a big help. I was afraid that an implant I had 4 years ago may need a root canal, as it has that rotten feeling and metal feeling. Knowing that there’s no root does ease my mind. It may still be a problem but at least it’s not an abcess.

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