How long do root canals last?
A root canal isn’t something people tend to look forward to. Getting your teeth fixed can be a source of worry, and once it’s done the last thing you want to do is have it done again.
Once you’ve had a root canal, though, will you need more work done down the line? If you’re worried about expensive dentist visits later on, don’t be. Here’s what you need to know.
Root canal longevity
A root canal that’s properly performed can last a lifetime. When you get a root canal, your tooth is opened up and the interior is removed, leaving it hollow. It’s then filled with an inert material and capped with an artificial crown. Metal crowns used to be more common but these days most caps are porcelain or another similar material that matches the surrounding teeth better.
When that cap is placed, it may be temporary or permanent. But once the permanent crown is placed, it should be fitted carefully to the tooth and should hold for the life of the tooth.
The success rate for root canals is over 90 percent. It’s a well-established procedure that’s been performed millions of times over the years and usually works correctly the first try. There are a few areas where it can go wrong, though.
Usually problems occur when not all the diseased tissue is removed from the interior of the tooth. This can cause a secondary infection inside the tooth in an area that’s not easy to get to. If there is pain or inflammation in the area of a tooth that’s had a root canal performed, it can be an indication of this.
Making sure root canals work the first time
The most important thing to make sure a root canal works is the crown. If it slips or breaks, the inside of the tooth will be exposed to the mouth again and infection can occur. A good crown holds the tooth together so it can’t break into smaller pieces as well as capping off the cavity left by a root canal.
If it’s not done correctly and there’s infection inside, the crown will need to be removed and the interior of the tooth re-cleaned. In our dental office we use a cone beam CT scan for a 3D image of the tooth. This ensures that we get all the infected tissue the first time around and don’t have to come back.
Success on a root canal isn’t guaranteed, but it’s close. And a well-performed root canal should last as long as you do. If you want dental work done right, contact our practice today and see what we can do for your oral health.