Question

Root Canal Therapy

How long will my tooth last after root canal therapy?

A Answers (29)

  • ADe Vizio, DMD, Dentistry, answered on behalf of Colgate

    Most teeth that have undergone a root canal treatment will last a lifetime. They will last unless the roots decay, the entire tooth cracks or moves, or advanced periodontal disease requires the tooth to be extracted.

  • Your restored tooth after root canal therapy could last a lifetime, if you continue to care for your teeth and gums. However, regular checkups are necessary. As long as the root(s) of a treated tooth are nourished by the tissues around it, your tooth will remain healthy.
  • AMark Burhenne, DDS, Dentist, answered

    95% of the time, for your whole life. However, there are caveats.

    A successful root canal must be performed with great precison and the sealing of the roots must be complete. If a root canal is performed poorly, the likelihood of that root canal failing is high. Additionally, since the tooth of a poorly performed root canal will dessicate after its roots are sealed, making it a non-vital structure, it will need a crown to cover the tooth to protect it from breaking apart under the load. Given the above, the root canal is an effective way to prevent the loss of the dentition.

  • AStanislav Moline, Endodontics, answered

    If properly restored (usually crowned) and maintained (brushing, flossing, periodic dental checkups), it can last a lifetime+. Some medications or/and medical conditions, such as those causing dryness in the mouth, need also to be controlled to save the tooth.

  • AWilliam M. Litaker, Dentistry, answered

    With proper care (brushing, flossing, diet, and regular dental visits) a tooth with a root canal can last a long time. Root canal teeth are still susceptible to cavities, and good oral care and regular visits to the dentist are important. Root canal teeth are also more brittle, and generally back teeth need a crown after a root canal so the tooth will not break. Your dentist can best advise you about your root canal therapy.

  • AGretchen Seibert, Dentistry, answered

    This depends on what tooth insult necessitated the root canal therapy. Teeth needing root canal therapy have the best prognosis (reasonable expectation of success and longevity) if they were diagnosed early and treated quickly. After root canal therapy, the tooth's lifespan is mostly dictated by the quick placement of a permanent restoration to seal the root canal and your ability to keep the tooth healthy along with the support of your dental team.

    I have had patients become experts in oral hygiene for their own mouths after the need for a root canal. These patients have molars (back teeth) that had root canal therapy in their teenage years and still maintain the tooth into their sixth decade of life and beyond. Unfortunately, I also have had patients that have experienced the failure of a root canal; sometimes quite soon after the root canal therapy was completed. The vast majority of failed root canals happen to people who have barriers to oral hygiene or who are unable to quickly have the tooth adequately restored with a final restoration (filling, crown, etc.).

    Depending on the reason for root canal failure, it is often possible to perform a root canal retreatment. The field of dentistry that includes root canal therapy is called endodontics. In fact, there is a dental specialist called an Endodontist. While many General Dentists perform root canals predictably and well, some may refer certain teeth needing root canals to this type of specialist.

    Our goal in dentistry is to help you keep your teeth for a lifetime. Root canal therapy can be a beneficial treatment to help you keep your teeth.

  • AQuinn Schiffman, Dentistry, answered

    Hopefully the rest of your life. The tooth is still and always will be susceptible to the prevalent diseases of the mouth, cavities and gum disease. Hence the need for maintenance that has been taught now for generations.

    It is important to receive a crown on it if it is a back tooth to prevent cracking. If your tooth is a front one sometimes we do not need a crown.

    Other basics are removal of the plaque (bacteria film) daily i.e. brushing and flossing, limiting the amount of time sugar is in contact with the teeth, limiting acid levels, regular removal of the tartar build-up on teeth, and regular examinations by your dentist.

  • ADavid Martin, Dentistry, answered

    The most important aspect is to have the tooth properly restored after the root canal procedure. In most cases placing a crown on the tooth will reduce the possibility of fracture. The unrestored tooth is more susceptible to fracture. Most endodontically treated teeth last as long as other natural teeth.

  • ADante Gonzales, DMD, Dentistry, answered
    A tooth with a root canal can be weaker than a healthy tooth without a root canal. However, teeth with root canals can last a lifetime if taken care of. The support structures like the bone and ligaments are still intact and healthy. But, if not taken care of, the tooth could suffer periodontal disease, recurrent decay, recurrent abscess,  or fractures that could cause premature loss. It is important to maintain good oral hygiene and visit your dentist.
  • AThomas Connelly, Dentistry, answered
    A "root canaled" tooth is not a living tooth, and therefore, will always be a little weaker than the rest of your teeth. But that said, with proper oral care and a little common sense (let's not bite down on marbles and the like), a tooth with a root canal should last your lifetime, just like any other tooth in your mouth.
  • ABen Amini, Dentistry, answered

    It depends. In general root canal treated teeth are weaker than non-restored teeth. That's partly because by the time a tooth needs a root canal treatment, it has gone thru several restorations and traumatic situations to begin with. Having said that, if a tooth can be saved with a root canal treatment, it should be treated that way. There are some exceptions to this, that's why your dentist has to evaluate it on a case-by-case situation.

    The literature shows a wide variation of 70-93% success rate in ten years, depending on coexisting pathology and teeth types, molars vs. incisors, and clinical skills.

  • AStephen H. Hook, Dentistry, answered

    There is no magic formula to predict a tooth's longevity after root canal therapy. Ideally, we would all like the tooth to have a lifetime guarantee. Permanent teeth are really supposed to last that long you know. Longevity, usefulness, strategic importance and likelihood of success are all judgment calls that the dentist has to advise you about. If a tooth only lasts a few months after root canal therapy, but that was the predictable and preferred outcome of the therapy, then the treatment was successful.

    In virtually every case where root canal therapy is done, the life span of the tooth IS directly tied into the final restoration planned for the tooth. So generalizations are not wise, but I will state that nearly all of the root canal treated teeth that I have seen in my professional career, if they have been lost too soon, were lost because the final restoration (crown) was not completed in a timely manner. It is critical to the long-term success of root canal treatment that the tooth be properly restored promptly after treatment is completed.

  • ADavid Grossman, Dentistry, answered
    Root canal therapy will often allow you to hold on to a tooth for many years, providing that a decent amount of healthy tooth/root structure still remains. Teeth tend to get brittle after the nerve has been removed, though, so back teeth (bicuspids and molars) should usually be crowned. People sometimes try to save money by postponing the crown, but they are disheartened when the tooth subsequently breaks and then needs to be extracted. Front teeth can often get by without a crown, as they are not used for chewing like the back teeth.
  • AArnold Liebman, Dentistry, answered

    It depends on many factors. If the tooth has a good amount of tooth structure remaining it can last for the rest of your life. However, if the tooth has additional issues such as periodontal (loss of the supporting bone that anchors the tooth) or if the root canal was performed under a crown or bridge that will not be replaced and may have lost a good amount of tooth structure; its structurally integrity may have been compromised.

    A tooth requires a minimum amount of sound natural tooth structure if a crown or bridge is to be placed. Artificial dental material usually made of a composite base that is built up onto a post (part that goes into the root canal of the tooth and protrudes out to accept the artificial composite material)

    The tooth cannot have the entire crown or bridge supported by all artificial tooth material. If this is the case, then other options should be considered for better support and longevity.

    A compromised tooth needs to be accessed by the dentist to determine if a root canal would be the best method of treatment. A compromised tooth may be good for the short term only, although a sound tooth having root canal may last for the rest of your life.

  • ASaul Miller, Dentistry, answered

    A tooth that has been treated with root canal therapy can last a lifetime; however, there are many factors that may affect it longevity. These include, but are certainly not limited to, periodontal disease, proper restoration and maintenance of the restoration, bite and function of the tooth and recurrent decay. Among the most important factors is prompt appropriate restoration of the tooth to prevent possible reinfection and to help avoid tooth fracture.

    In deciding whether or not to undergo root canal treatment, it is important to determine the apparent prognosis and restorability of the tooth. This should be done in coordination with the dentist performing the endo treatment and the restoring dentist.

  • AJohn Sheets, Dentistry, answered

    After root canal therapy, your root canal tooth has an excellent chance to last the rest of your life. The most important thing to do after a root canal is to protect the tooth with a crown. Leaving the tooth without the protection of the crown could lead to it breaking or worse yet fracturing or cracking down the length of the tooth. Other factors to having a successful root canal are making sure you have regular cleanings and  X-rays. Preventing decay in the root structure is vital to help keep your tooth.

    Making the decision to keep you tooth is a wise investment; it's important you continue to protect it with regular care.

  • AStephen Simpson, Dentistry, answered

    Teeth which have received properly executed root canal therapy (endodontic treatment) may last indefinitely if appropriate preventative and hygiene care is maintained by the patient. These teeth MUST be properly restored anatomically subsequent to root canal therapy if they are to survive the rigors of daily function, since the internal structure of the tooth has been dramatically altered.

  • ABrandon Aron, Dentistry, answered
    Your tooth could last a lifetime after root canal therapy. However, just like anything else, if you don't take good care of your teeth after therapy, the root canaled tooth may fail. If you haven't done so already, discuss with your dentist or endodontist if the root canal treated tooth will need a crown or "cap" to protect the tooth. 
  • ANicholas Dello Russo, Dentistry, answered

    It depends on how you use the tooth and how it was restored.

    When a tooth has a root canal it becomes brittle and usually requires a crown. Some teeth that have had root canals will fracture several years later especially in someone who clenches or grinds their teeth. If you feel any sensitivity or pain in a tooth that has had a root canal you should see your dentist.

  • APaul Epstein, Dentistry, answered

    After a root canal the tooth may last your lifetime. It depends on the amount of tooth structure remaining and the biting forces placed on the tooth. Most root canaled teeth should have a casting (crown or onlay) placed over the tooth to increase the strength and decrease the fracturability of the tooth.

  • AKatherine Vo, DDS, Dentistry, answered

    Teeth that have had root canal tend to be more fragile than a healthy tooth. A crown (cap) is recommended in all root canal treated molars, where more chewing forces are being applied, to prevent fractures. With a well-fitted crown and good personal and professional dental care, these teeth should last a long time.

  • ARussell Fitton, Dentistry, answered
    They certainly can! It depends on how much tooth structure remains to support the permanent filling or crown. Less tooth structure is a weaker foundation. This can lead to cracking of the tooth or leaking under the filling or crown over time. Bacteria can get back into the root of the tooth and cause an infection. Most times this can be re-treated if caught early enough. Another good reason for regular dental check-ups!
  • ASupriya Verma, Dentistry, answered

    Your general oral health is a good indication if a tooth that has had root canal treatment will last. If your general oral health is excellent then there is a good prognosis that the properly restored root canal treated tooth will last a long time. However, if your general oral health is poor then chances are that it won't last as long as it could. You have to remember that a tooth with root canal treatment can still get a cavity below the crown and it can still develop gum disease which can cause the tooth to get re-infected or cause you to lose the tooth. It's best to see your dentist regularly to help you develop an oral hygiene routine to prevent problems from arising and detecting them early.     

     

  • ALucia Yau, DMD, Dentistry, answered

    Yes. With proper care and maintenance, teeth that have had a root canal can last for a lifetime. Your dentist may recommend additional treatment to protect the root canal treated tooth. Usually post and build-up and crown are needed to prevent the root canal treated tooth from breaking.

  • AMark Birnbach, Dentistry, answered

    With proper care (a crown to reinforce the weakened tooth structure), brushing, flossing, avoiding chewing on ice, etc. a root canal toothed can last the rest of one’s life.

  • ASteven Bornfeld, Dentistry, answered

    No one can guarantee that ANY medical or dental procedure will be successful 100% of the time. Certainly a tooth that has had a well-performed root canal treatment, followed by appropriate restoration can last a very long time. For those that succeed initially, the chances of retaining the teeth indefinitely should be about the same as another tooth in the mouth of the same patient that has NOT had root canal.

    The reason I point this out is that there is a bit of a "turf war" going on between endodontists and other dentists who prefer to save teeth and surgeons who claim that the average life of a root canal-treated tooth is some arbitrary number of years, and that most people are better off having the tooth extracted and replaced by an implant-supported prosthesis. I have seen no well-designed study to demonstrate this to my satisfaction. Even if the AVERAGE implant-retained prosthesis outlasts the AVERAGE root canal-treated and restored tooth, what is important is what is best in YOUR mouth on THAT particular tooth in YOUR clinical situation.

    Some teeth require removal--that is not at issue. What you need is an honest assessment from your dentist of the advantages and disadvantages of a particular treatment plan. I'd avoid jumping to agree with a dentist who decides that you should treat one way or another based upon some putative "average".

  • ASally Kashani, DDS, Dentistry, answered

    Statistically the life span of a tooth gets cut shorter once the nerve has been removed. Because it is not longer a "living/vital" tooth it is weaker than your other teeth.

    You should be aware that you have other options such as removing the tooth and placing a dental implant. In teeth that have a poor long term prognosis, this may be a better option and make more sense financially.

    Sometimes it is a matter of personal preference for patients to want to hang on to their own tooth for as long as they can.

  • AStephen Black, Dentistry, answered
    With proper care, root canal treated teeth can last a lifetime. Root canal treated teeth tend to dry out, become brittle and can break. With a filling and a crown, the tooth can be protected against breakage. Proper brushing and flossing and regular check ups can help prevent decay around the crown as well as any gum problems.
  • AStephen Carstensen, DDS, Dentistry, answered
    Most people these days keep all their teeth for their entire life, and most teeth treated with root canals can last that long, too. Because they've had more treatment, they are weaker and need to be protected from too much pressure to avoid fracture, but with proper treatment, you should expect them to be just as healthy and long-lasting as any of your other teeth!
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