Root Canal Treatment versus Single-Tooth Implant: A Systematic Review of Internet Content

Journal of Endodontics



There is an absence of professional consensus regarding when a tooth should be retained with root canal treatment and when to extract and replace it with an implant. Considering that patients often seek health-related information on the Internet, completeness and accuracy of online content are highly desirable. Websites should also fulfill several technical characteristics to be accessible to all.


The search term root canal treatment implant was entered into 4 search engines. The first 100 webpages per engine search were evaluated. After removal of duplicates, those webpages comparing root canal treatment against single-tooth implant by using the AAE Implant Statement criteria as a benchmark were included. Completeness of information was evaluated against the AAE Statement by using a binary scale assessment tool. The related content was synthesized by using a protocol for systematic review of textual, non-research evidence. The webpages/sites were assessed for accessibility, usability, reliability, and quality of information by using the DISCERN and LIDA tools.


Twenty-six relevant webpages were found. Information completeness scores ranged from 1 to 6; however, nearly one third scored 1. Nine syntheses were derived relating to survival rates, tooth restorability, bone quality, esthetic demands, and systemic factors. The median overall scores for LIDA and DISCERN were 72% and 61%, respectively.


There is scarcity of information available on the Internet for the lay public with respect to the specific clinical question, although the webpages' content was consistent with available scientific literature. The accessibility, usability, reliability, and quality of information were largely moderate or low.


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