Is It Better to Save a Tooth or Get an Implant? Exploring the Pros and Cons

Your smile is a reflection of your confidence and vitality, and when faced with the choice of saving a tooth or getting an implant, the decision can be overwhelming. 


In this blog, we delve into the age-old dilemma of whether it is better to preserve a natural tooth or opt for a dental implant. With the remarkable advancements in dental technology, both options offer their own set of advantages and considerations. 


The Case for Saving a Tooth

Preserving your natural teeth is often considered the ideal option when it comes to dental care. By saving a tooth, you can maintain the integrity of your natural structure and enjoy a range of benefits that go beyond mere aesthetics.


Preserving Natural Structure

When it comes to oral health, there’s more to it than just having a complete set of teeth. Keeping your natural teeth intact offers numerous advantages:


  • Maintaining Gum and Bone Health: Natural teeth provide stimulation to the surrounding gum and bone tissue, helping to keep them healthy and properly functioning. By preserving a natural tooth, you can prevent the bone loss and gum recession that may occur with tooth loss. 
  • Preserving Facial Aesthetics: Each tooth plays a crucial role in supporting the structure of your face. Losing a tooth can result in sunken cheeks and a prematurely aged appearance. By saving a natural tooth, you can preserve your facial aesthetics and maintain a more youthful look. 
  • Potential for Natural Sensation: Natural teeth allow you to experience the full range of sensations while chewing and speaking. The preservation of a natural tooth can help you retain the ability to sense and enjoy food textures, temperatures, and flavors. 

Treatments for Saving Teeth

Dentistry offers various procedures aimed at saving compromised teeth. These treatments provide a chance to preserve your natural tooth and its functionality. Some common treatments include:


  • Root Canal Therapy: This procedure involves removing the infected or damaged pulp from the tooth’s interior, cleaning and disinfecting the root canal, and sealing it to prevent further infection. Root canal therapy can save a tooth from extraction and relieve pain caused by infection or inflammation. 
  • Dental Crowns: Crowns are custom-made caps that are placed over a damaged or weakened tooth to restore its strength, shape, and function. They provide added protection and support to the tooth, allowing it to continue functioning effectively. 
  • Situations Favoring Success: Certain scenarios have a higher likelihood of success when attempting to save a natural tooth. These include cases where the tooth has a good amount of healthy tooth structure remaining, minimal gum and bone loss, and absence of extensive decay or infection. 

By exploring these treatments and considering the specific condition of your natural tooth, you can make an informed decision regarding the preservation of your dental health.

Remember, while saving a natural tooth is often desirable, there are instances where dental implants may provide a more predictable and successful outcome.


The Advantages of Dental Implants

When it comes to replacing missing teeth, dental implants have emerged as a highly successful and reliable solution. With their remarkable advantages, dental implants offer patients the opportunity to regain both the function and appearance of natural teeth.


Long-Term Survival Rate

Dental implants have demonstrated an exceptional long-term survival rate, making them a popular choice among patients and dental professionals. Consider the following advantages:


  • Clinical Success: Multiple clinical studies have consistently shown high success rates for dental implants. These studies reveal that implants have a long-term survival rate, often exceeding 95%. This remarkable success rate speaks to the reliability and durability of implants as a tooth replacement option. 
  • Durability and Longevity: Unlike certain dental treatments that may require periodic repair or replacement, dental implants are designed to be a permanent solution. They are made from biocompatible materials such as titanium, which fuse with the jawbone to provide a strong foundation. With proper care and maintenance, dental implants can last a lifetime, offering a cost-effective long-term solution. 
  • Oral Health Implications: Dental implants not only replace missing teeth but also contribute to maintaining oral health. By filling the gap left by a missing tooth, implants prevent the surrounding teeth from shifting, thus preserving the natural alignment of your smile. Additionally, implants stimulate the jawbone, preventing bone loss that can occur when a tooth is lost. This helps maintain the integrity of the facial structure and prevents further oral health complications. 

Functional and Aesthetic Similarity to Natural Teeth

One of the most significant advantages of dental implants is their ability to closely replicate the form and function of natural teeth. Consider the following benefits:


  • Restoration of Proper Chewing and Speaking Functions: Dental implants restore the ability to bite, chew, and speak with confidence and ease. The stability and strength provided by implants allow for a comfortable and efficient chewing experience, enabling you to enjoy a varied and nutritious diet. Moreover, dental implants eliminate speech difficulties caused by missing teeth, ensuring clear and natural speech patterns. 
  • Natural Appearance: Dental implants closely resemble natural teeth in both their appearance and feel. Implant crowns are customized to match the color, shape, and size of your existing teeth, resulting in a seamless and harmonious smile. The natural aesthetics of implants contribute to enhanced self-esteem and confidence in social interactions. 
  • Positive Patient Experiences: Patient testimonials and case studies demonstrate the transformative impact of dental implants. Countless individuals have shared their experiences of renewed self-assurance, improved quality of life, and regained oral function after receiving dental implants. These firsthand accounts further emphasize the effectiveness and satisfaction associated with this tooth replacement option. 

Predictability and Success in Complex Cases

In certain situations, attempting to save a natural tooth may have a low chance of success due to various factors. Dental implants offer a more predictable and successful alternative, particularly in complex cases:


  • Challenges in Saving a Natural Tooth: There are instances where a natural tooth may be severely compromised, such as extensive decay, root fracture, or advanced periodontal disease. In such cases, attempting to save the tooth may have limited chances of success and could require extensive treatments without a guaranteed positive outcome. 
  • Predictable Implant Placement: Implant placement is a highly predictable and well-established procedure. Advanced imaging techniques and precise planning allow for accurate implant placement, ensuring optimal integration with the jawbone. The predictability of the procedure provides patients and dental professionals with confidence in achieving successful outcomes. 
  • Feasibility in Complex Cases: Dental implants offer a feasible and successful solution even in complex cases, such as multiple missing teeth, complete edentulism (loss of all teeth), or insufficient bone structure. Techniques like bone grafting and sinus lifts can be employed to create a suitable foundation for implant placement, enabling individuals with complex dental situations to benefit from this treatment option.


By considering the advantages of dental implants, individuals can make an informed decision about the best approach to restoring their oral health, function, and aesthetics.


Considerations for Decision Making

Making a decision between saving a natural tooth and getting a dental implant requires careful consideration of various factors. Your unique dental health, lifestyle, and preferences play a crucial role in determining the most suitable option. Additionally, seeking guidance from a dental professional is vital to ensuring an informed decision that aligns with your specific needs.


Personal Circumstances

When weighing the choice between saving a tooth or opting for a dental implant, it’s essential to take your personal circumstances into account:


  • Dental Health: The condition of your natural tooth, including the extent of damage or decay, plays a significant role in determining whether saving the tooth is a viable option. Consider the long-term prognosis and the likelihood of successful treatment outcomes. 
  • Lifestyle Considerations: Your lifestyle and habits can influence the decision-making process. For instance, if you participate in contact sports or activities with a higher risk of dental trauma, a dental implant may offer greater durability and protection. 
  • Age and Bone Health: Factors such as age and bone health can impact the success of certain treatments. Dental implants require a sufficient amount of healthy jawbone for successful placement. If you have experienced significant bone loss, additional procedures like bone grafting may be necessary to support the implant. 
  • Financial Considerations: Cost can be a significant factor in decision making. Evaluate the long-term costs associated with different treatment options, including initial procedures, maintenance, and potential future treatments. Discuss financial aspects with your dentist and explore available payment options or dental insurance coverage. 

Consultation With a Dental Professional

Consulting with a dental professional, such as Burnaby Square Dental, is crucial to making an informed decision and developing a personalized treatment plan:


  • Expert Advice and Evaluation: Dentists or prosthodontists have the knowledge and expertise to assess your dental health and provide tailored recommendations based on your specific situation. They can evaluate the feasibility of saving a natural tooth and discuss the potential benefits and drawbacks of dental implants. 
  • Comprehensive Examination: A comprehensive examination will involve an assessment of your oral health, including X-rays and scans to evaluate the condition of your teeth and jawbone. This thorough examination will aid in determining the best course of action and whether saving a tooth or opting for an implant is the most appropriate choice. 
  • Personalized Treatment Plan: Following the examination, your dental professional will develop a personalized treatment plan that considers your unique needs, goals, and budget. They will guide you through the process, explaining the steps involved in saving a tooth or the implant placement procedure. This comprehensive plan ensures a well-informed decision and helps you understand what to expect throughout the treatment journey. 

When facing the decision of saving a tooth or getting a dental implant, the guidance and expertise of a dental professional like Burnaby Square Dental can provide the clarity and assurance needed to make the right choice for your oral health and overall well-being.


At Burnaby Square Dental, our experienced team is committed to providing personalized care and helping you make informed decisions about your dental health. Whether you require guidance on saving a tooth or exploring the benefits of dental implants, we are here to offer expert advice and develop a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to your needs. Schedule a consultation with us today at 604-526-2725 and let us guide you on the path to a healthy and confident smile.