July 23, 2021
This article provides insights into the longevity of a root canal, answering the common question: How long does a root canal last? Additionally, it explores factors that may potentially decrease the lifespan of a root canal treatment.
Root canal, also called RCT, is a treatment for a tooth that is badly infected down to the root.
How Long Does a Root Canal Last?
The treatment successfully repairs the tooth. It will last a lifetime.
But since the tooth was severely damaged before the treatment, it would certainly be weaker than your other healthy teeth.
It would last for a good 10-15 years, but if they are crowned, it will increase their life. For this, you should know exactly how a root canal treatment is done.
What Exactly Happens During RCT
So, you’ve heard about root canal treatment (RCT), and you’re wondering what goes on during this dental procedure. Let’s break it down into simple steps to demystify the process:
1. Diagnosis and Examination:
- Your journey begins with your dentist taking X-rays to get a clear picture of what’s happening beneath the surface. They’ll examine the affected tooth, looking for signs of infection, decay, or damage.
2. Anesthesia – Numbing the Area:
- Your dentist will carefully administer a local anesthetic to ensure the area around the affected tooth is completely pain-free. This guarantees a comfortable experience throughout the procedure.
3. Access Opening – Getting Inside the Tooth:
- The dentist creates a small access point in the tooth, providing a pathway to the pulp chamber and root canals. It’s like opening a door to the heart of the tooth.
4. Pulp Removal – Bid Farewell to Infected Tissues:
- Now, it’s time to say goodbye to the infected or damaged pulp. Specialized instruments are used to carefully remove it from the root canals, ensuring a clean slate for the next steps.
5. Cleaning and Shaping – Creating a Clean Canvas:
- The root canals are meticulously cleaned and shaped to get rid of any remaining debris. Think of it as giving the channels a fresh start, free from infection and ready for healing.
6. Filling the Canals – Sealing the Deal:
- A biocompatible material, often gutta-percha, is used to seal the cleaned root canals and prevent future trouble. It’s like putting a protective barrier in place.
7. Temporary or Permanent Seal – Shielding the Tooth:
- Depending on the specific case, your dentist might place a temporary or permanent seal to protect the treated tooth. It’s a shield against external elements that could cause harm.
8. Restoration with a Crown – Adding Strength and Protection:
- The final step involves placing a crown on the treated tooth. This crown acts as a robust shield, providing strength and protection to the once-affected tooth, ensuring its longevity.
And there you have it — the step-by-step journey of a root canal. While the process may sound intricate, it’s a common dental procedure aimed at saving your natural tooth and providing long-lasting relief. Always remember, your dentist is your guide through this journey, ensuring you’re at ease every step of the way.
However, many other factors may increase or decrease the life of an RCT.
Factors That Decrease the Life of RCT
- The first reason is negligence on the patient’s part. The patient may not have taken good care of the tooth, especially if he is a kid or teenager who invariably has inconsistent oral hygiene habits.
- The second is a natural occurrence of the tooth having two roots. One of those roots may have a very tiny infection that is not possible to detect. It may flare up later. While this occurrence is highly unlikely, it still does happen sometimes.
- Though uncommon, sometimes the filling can become weak over time, and bacteria make their way inside the tooth. The patient does not feel any pain, that’s why regular checkups are important.
- Occasionally, teeth that have had RCT done may fracture after many years. It usually happens with patients who unknowingly grind or clench their teeth. So, if you feel pain or sensitivity in an RCT tooth, see your dentist.
- Teeth that have received root canal therapy would last a lifetime only if they have been properly restored anatomically after the endodontic treatment. Proper restoration ensures that the altered tooth is strong enough to survive the rigorous actions of its everyday functioning.
No medical procedure or technology comes with a 100 percent guarantee of laying a lifetime, but if good care is taken, your treated tooth will last forever.
If the tooth is properly restored, you are maintaining good oral hygiene, and following your dentist’s advice of routine checkups, your tooth could very well last for the rest of your life.