A root canal is a restorative procedure for a tooth that is severely damaged, decayed, or infected. In many cases a root canal can save a tooth that would otherwise need to be extracted and replaced. When a root canal is performed properly and at the right time, it has a 95% success rate.
Do you have a tooth that needs a root canal? If so, you may be wondering if it’s worth it and how long it will last. Here’s what you need to know about this common dental procedure.
What is a Root Canal?
The term root canal refers to the inner chamber of a tooth. At the center of every tooth there is soft tissue made up of blood vessels and nerves called dental pulp. The pulp is susceptible to infection if bacteria enters the root canal.
A root canal procedure is the process of removing the dental pulp and replacing it with a rubbery filling material. If a tooth is infected, the diseased tissue is removed. If the tooth is at risk of infection, the dental pulp is removed before it can develop an infection.
How Do I Know if I Need a Root Canal?
You may need a root canal if you have any of the following signs:
- Severe tooth pain. An infected tooth can be extremely painful. If you have a toothache that doesn’t subside, a root canal may be necessary.
- Extreme sensitivity in one area. A tooth that is at risk of infection due to a deep cavity or a crack may be extra sensitive to cold and heat.
- A discolored tooth. Infected or dead pulp can make a tooth look gray or brown in the center.
- Sore gums around a tooth. An infected tooth may cause the gum tissue around it to be inflamed and swollen.
How Long Will My Tooth Last After a Root Canal?
On average, a tooth should last 10-15 years after a root canal procedure. According to recent statistics, 98% of root canals last for at least a year, 92% last 5 years, and 86% last for 10 years or more. The success or failure of a root canal depends on a number of factors.
What Causes a Root Canal to Fail?
A root canal may fail to permanently save a tooth in the following situations:
- Poor oral hygiene. A tooth that has had a root canal can sometimes become reinfected if you don’t practice good oral hygiene habits. It is important to brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day to remove plaque.
- Incomplete root canal. In some cases, often due to a complex root canal structure, all of the dental pulp is not removed during a root canal. This can allow the infection to remain or increase the risk of new infection.
- Improper crown placement. A crown is usually placed over a tooth following a root canal. If the crown is not properly placed, bacteria may be able to get under the crown and enter the root canal, causing reinfection.
Can a Tooth Get a Repeat Root Canal?
In many cases a tooth can receive a repeat root canal if the first fails. This is only true if there is enough remaining tooth and root material to preserve the tooth. There may be too much damage to the natural tooth to perform a second root canal, resulting in the need for extraction.
Who Provides Root Canal Treatment?
Dentists and endodontists can perform root canals. However, endodontists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions affecting the dental pulp. An endodontist is a dentist who has completed additional education and training in the field of endodontics.
At Eagle Endodontics we specialize in root canal treatment, using advanced technology to ensure we reach every nook and cranny of the root canal, even microscopic areas. This increases the length of time your tooth will last following a root canal.
Contact us today to learn more about root canal treatment and schedule an appointment.