A review of factors influencing treatment planning decisions of single-tooth implants versus preserving natural teeth with nonsurgical endodontic therapy

J Endod. 2008 May;34(5):519-29. doi: 10.1016/j.joen.2008.01.002.


One of the major issues confronting the contemporary dental clinician is the treatment decision between extracting a tooth with placement of a dental implant or preserving the natural tooth by root canal treatment. The factors that dictate the correct selection of one procedure over the other for each particular case are not yet established by randomized controlled studies. The aim of this review is to evaluate key factors allowing the clinician to make clinical decisions on the basis of the best evidence and in the patient's best interests. General considerations are discussed that will help the reader analyze clinical studies focused on this problem. Importantly, the major studies published to date indicate that there is no difference in long-term prognosis between single-tooth implants and restored root canal-treated teeth. Therefore, the decision to treat a tooth endodontically or to place a single-tooth implant should be based on other criteria such as prosthetic restorability of the tooth, quality of bone, esthetic demands, cost-benefit ratio, systematic factors, potential for adverse effects, and patient preferences. It can be concluded that endodontic treatment of teeth represents a feasible, practical, and economical way to preserve function in a vast array of cases and that dental implants serve as a good alternative in selected indications in which prognosis is poor.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Decision Making
  • Dental Implants, Single-Tooth / statistics & numerical data*
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Humans
  • Life Tables
  • Pain, Postoperative
  • Patient Care Planning
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Patient Selection
  • Practice Patterns, Dentists'*
  • Prognosis
  • Root Canal Therapy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Smoking
  • Treatment Outcome