If you've received a root canal, you may want to know how long the repair will last. Root canals last between eight and 10 years and even longer. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Endodontics found that root canals performed by a qualified endodontist last longer than those performed by general dentists.
What Is a Root Canal?
Root canals are necessary when tooth decay reaches the pulp inside and goes down into the root. The endodontist drills down into the tooth. Then they remove the diseased nerves and pulp using a root canal file.
The endodontist cleans the space left inside the tooth and shapes it properly for filling. They fill the space with a material called gutta-percha. This rubbery substance protects the inside of the tooth from bacteria.
Finally, the endodontist places a temporary filling or crown on the tooth to protect it. Patients usually go back to a general dentist to receive a permanent crown.
Advantages of Root Canals
Root canals relieve the pain of a compromised or infected tooth. Severe damage due to cracking, breaking, or infection can warrant a root canal. Root canals can prevent tooth extractions.
Getting a root canal right away will not only relieve pain, but will also save you time and money. These procedures cost less than extractions, bridges, dentures, and implants. Unlike implants, dental insurance usually covers root canals.
Root canals prevent infections from spreading to other teeth. They also prevent tooth infections from going systemic and affecting your general health. Severe complications could happen if an infection gets out of control.
What If I Don't Get a Root Canal?
You may believe that a root canal is painful, or that it is too expensive. If you skip a root canal, your tooth may break to the point where dentists can't restore it. In this case, it must come out. Extraction leaves a space in your mouth and needs an expensive denture or implant to replace.
Is a Root Canal Painful?
Thanks to today's techniques, root canals are no more painful than a standard filling. Patients may find the process uncomfortable because it takes time. Patients' jaws sometimes hurt from being open for so long. Yet, most patients are fine with only local anesthesia.
Some patients need sedation during root canal appointments because they are afraid. Speak to your endodontist about sedation options.
Signs That Your Root Canal Needs Retreatment
You may notice that the pain in your tooth has returned. Sometimes, you will not have received any relief from the original procedure. Your dentist might say that you need another root canal. A repeat root canal is a resection.
You may need a resection due to incomplete cleaning of the inside of the tooth. Spaces inside the tooth are tight, and dentists may miss bits of infected tissue.
If an endodontist does your root canal, you are less likely to need follow-up treatment. General dentists do not receive as much training in root canal techniques.
How Endodontists Redo Root Canals
Resection is like the original root canal procedure. Endodontists remove the cap or crown on the tooth and drill into the filling material. They clean the inside of the tooth again. They may need a dental microscope to view and treat small infected roots.
Your Dental Health After Receiving a Root Canal
After you have a first-time or repeat root canal, you should notice immediate pain relief. You might have sore gums near the treated tooth. Usually, you will need only over-the-counter pain medications and cold compresses. You should avoid eating chewy, sticky, or crunchy foods right after the root canal. Temporary crowns are not as well-attached as the permanent variety. Otherwise, you can go about your daily life with little to no interruptions.
After you receive your permanent crown, be sure to care for it as you would a natural tooth. Do not forget to brush and floss the area as usual. Failing to keep the area clean could shorten the life of the root canal.
Root Canals Are Long-Lasting
Root canals are a long-lasting solution for your dental health, but they may not last forever. Be sure to follow up for repeat treatment if your dentist or endodontist recommends it.
Contact Us Today
While root canals last a long time with proper care, they may not last forever. Your dentist may tell you that one of your root canals needs to be redone if the pain and discomfort return. If you believe you need a new or repeat root canal, contact Contemporary Endodontics at 405-285-5042 today.