A root canal is a restorative procedure that can often save a damaged tooth. A tooth that has significant decay or a crack in the enamel may need a root canal. If you’ve been told that you have a tooth that needs a root canal, it is normal to have questions. You may be wondering how long a root canal lasts and whether or not it is worth it to get a root canal. Here’s what you need to know to make an informed decision about your dental health.
What is a Root Canal?
At the center of each tooth there is a hollow chamber that begins in the lower part of the crown of a tooth and extends down into the root system. This is called the root canal. The root canal contains dental pulp, soft tissue made up primarily of blood vessels and nerves. The pulp helps the tooth develop while under the gums and sustains the life of the tooth once it has erupted.
What is a Root Canal Procedure?
A root canal is a procedure that is named for the part of the tooth it addresses. The dental pulp is susceptible to infection if bacteria invades the root canal. Bacteria in saliva can reach the root canal through a crack or a deep cavity in a tooth. A tooth that is infected or at risk of infection will need a root canal.
The root canal procedure requires a small hole to be made in the crown of the tooth that is used to reach the dental pulp. The pulp is removed and the root canal is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. The tooth is filled with a replacement material that is resistant to infection and a crown is placed over the tooth for protection. The natural root remains in place for support.
Average Lifespan of a Tooth After a Root Canal
On average, a tooth will last for at least ten years after a root canal. The majority of root canals will last longer, but it depends on a variety of factors.
Factors That Affect the Lifespan of a Tooth After a Root Canal
There are a few different factors that have an effect on how long a tooth lasts after a root canal.
- Prompt treatment. The sooner a tooth is treated with a root canal, the longer the restoration may last. The longer a tooth goes without a root canal, the greater the damage to the tooth, which may cause it to be weaker and not last as long.
- Crown placement. When the tooth is covered with a crown after a root canal it tends to last longer than a tooth that received a composite filling over the hole.
- Crown material. The quality of the material the crown is made of may affect how long the tooth lasts after a root canal. High quality porcelain or metal crowns offer more effective protection and last longer before needing to be replaced.
- Location of the tooth. A root canal on a front tooth tends to be less complex than a molar, mostly because it is a smaller tooth with a less complex root structure. This means the tooth is likely to last longer after the procedure.
- After care. The better you take care of the tooth after a root canal, the longer it will last. It is important to practice good dental hygiene, brushing twice a day and flossing once a day. Going to the dentist every six months for dental cleanings is another way to extend the life of your tooth after a root canal.
Why Choose Emerson Dental?
Another important factor in the longevity of a tooth after a root canal is the experience and skill of your dentist. Technology also plays a part, as advanced imaging equipment makes it possible for your dentist to view all of the root canal system for a thorough procedure.
The experienced doctors at Emerson Dental have the skill and technology needed to provide a quality root canal procedure that will save your tooth and help it last as long as possible.
Contact us today to learn more and schedule an appointment at one of our two convenient locations.