You have really asked three separate questions, so bear with me!
1. Can a tooth need a root canal when it doesn’t hurt?
Yes. A tooth needs a root canal when the nerve in the tooth has been injured and it cannot recover, or when the nerve of a tooth has died. Over the years, I have learned that some teeth die with alot of pain and infection and some teeth die quietly and the patient doesn’t notice. I have also learned that some people have a very high pain tolerance and some people have a very low pain tolerance.
If you don’t think your tooth needs a root canal, I would suggest you get a second opinion.
2. Are root canals dangerous?
It is true that a poor root canal can lead to alot of infection and problems for a patient. However, root canals that are done well allow patients to keep teeth. The only alternative to a root canal is to have the tooth pulled.
Be aware that some root canals are technically difficult. If your dentist suggests a specialist, go to the specialist for the root canal.
3. Should a tooth be pulled and an implant placed instead of having a root canal?
This is one of those questions where it depends on the situation.
Most of the time the answer is no. If you can save a tooth with a root canal, you should save it. Teeth that God gave you are always better than teeth that are man made.
However, if a tooth has other problems it is important to consider how long the tooth will last if a root canal is done. It is upsetting to have a root canal done only to have the tooth pulled a year later. Dentists are not omniscient, but sometimes we can predict that a tooth is on its way out.
Finally, the cost of an implant is significant and must be considered when the less costly option of a root canal is still possible.
I hope I helped you make a decision.
All the best!