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

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

Author information

  • 1Department of Endodontics, The Robert Schattner Center, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-6030, USA. miqbal@pobox.upenn.edu


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.

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