If you have an infected root canal system, you may have a lot of questions—including questions about treatment costs. Specifically, you may be wondering how much do dental implants cost compared to the cost of root canal therapy (RCT)?
The cost of each procedure may be a major factor in your decision. However, because each patient and each situation is unique, it would be difficult to accurately compare the costs. While one person may need a very straightforward procedure, another patient may have a situation that requires more complex treatment—and only your dentist or endodontist can tell you that.
But what can be compared is the amount of time you’ll typically need for each procedure and recovery. The number of office visits you would expect to make for completion of each procedure is also something that can be compared. Since many of us have to work around busy schedules, the cost of the time involved in each treatment can be an important factor.
What’s involved with a dental implant procedure?
A dental implant procedure is really a series of several surgeries which involve tooth extraction and preparation of your jaw to accept the implant. First, your damaged tooth is removed, then your jawbone is prepared for dental implant surgery, which may include bone grafting.* After your jawbone heals, the metal post that holds the implant will be secured in it typically.* Your jawbone will need to heal for an extended period of time before an abutment (the extension of the implant post) is placed.* After the soft tissue heals, molds will be made of your teeth and jawbone, and the crown of the implant is fitted on top.*
Appointments Required: Typically, four to five (excluding initial examination)
Average Recovery Time: Healing from the procedures involved in a dental implant can take up to six months. Fitting and seating of the crown can take up to another two months.**
Possible Complications: Like any surgery, a dental implant procedure may pose risks. Complications are generally uncommon and usually easily treatable, but they could add to your treatment and recovery time. These complications include:
- Infection at the implant site*
- Injury or damage to surrounding structures, such as other teeth or blood vessels*
- Nerve damage, which can cause pain, numbness or tingling in your natural teeth, gums, lips or chin*
- Sinus problems, when a dental implant placed in the upper jaw protrudes into one of your sinus cavities*
What’s involved in standard RCT?
Standard root canal therapy is a procedure that treats infected root canal systems while allowing patients to keep their natural teeth. The procedure has been around since the 1800s, and it hasn’t drastically changed since its inception.*** Manually-operated files are inserted into the root canal system to scrape away the infected dental pulp and debris, then treatment fluids are used to flush and disinfect the area. Next, the canal system is typically sealed and packed with a filling material called gutta-percha; some dentists and endodontists prefer to do this during a follow-up appointment to ensure that the infection has been effectively treated. The final step is placement of a permanent crown.†
Appointments Required: Typically, two to three (excluding initial examination)
Average Recovery Time: While standard RCT does not impact your ability to resume your normal schedule, it can cause tenderness in the area for a few days following treatment.† The recovery time between the first and second standard root canal treatment appointments, in which there is no permanent filling material yet placed, may contribute to this discomfort.
Possible Complication: Root canal systems are unique, and some infected canals may not show up on x-rays and other dental images. If the canal system is not completely cleaned and disinfected, if there was an undetected crack in the tooth‡ or if bacteria got past the sealing material‡ and reentered the tooth, reinfection can occur, requiring retreatment and additional treatment/recovery time.
What’s Involved with the GentleWave® Alternative to Standard RCT
The GentleWave Procedure is a minimally invasive1 approach to root canal therapy that delivers a higher standard of clean while typically requiring fewer files than standard RCT.2 Using advanced fluid dynamics to create a vortex of procedure fluids that travel throughout the root canal system, broad-spectrum acoustic energy helps remove the tissue and debris that cause infection.1,2
Unlike standard RCT, the GentleWave Procedure is able to reach all throughout the root canal system – even into the deepest, most complex portions1,2 and microscopic spaces1,2 that standard root canal treatments frequently cannot.3
Appointments Required: Typically, one for the procedure4 and one for later crown placement (excluding initial examination)
Average Recovery Time: Many patients who have had the GentleWave Procedure say they’re able to get back to their normal routine almost immediately.
Possible Complications: Because the GentleWave Procedure is so effective at cleaning and disinfecting the root canal system, there’s less chance of failure over time4 compared to standard RCT.
Adding it All Up
A dental implant, standard RCT and the GentleWave Procedure are all effective treatment methods for infected root canal systems. But if you want to know how much dental implants cost versus the standard RCT and the GentleWave Procedure, you should factor in the cost in treatment and recovery time as well as your potential financial investment. Remember, though, all cases of root canal infection are unique, as are all patients. Only you and your dentist or endodontist can determine which treatment is right for you.
How Can You Find a GentleWave Provider?
If you’re interested in this minimally invasive1 alternative to standard root canal treatment, we can help! Use our Provider Locator to find a dentist or endodontist in your area with the GentleWave System.