Provided the natural tooth is still in place, root canal or endodontic treatment may be an alternative to dental implants. Root canal treatment involves the removal of the dental pulp (nerves and blood vessels) from the root canals of teeth. The canals are cleaned and shaped and a root filling is placed to seal the canals. A root canal treatment can be technically more difficult that the placement of an implant. However when it is carried out properly, it may be a more appropriate solution.
The questions that you should ask your dentist are:
Is there an alternative to tooth extraction and an implant?
Can the tooth be saved by root canal treatment?
How difficult is the root canal treatment and would a referral to a specialist (an endodontist) be advisable?
How long is the tooth likely to last if it is kept?
What would be the situation if the root canal treatment proposed were to fail?
If you have missing teeth, you should consult with your dentist about the various tooth replacement methods. A bridge or partial denture is an alternative to dental implants and may be sufficient for your needs.