Root canal treatment has a high success rate and will keep your tooth healthy for a very long time.
A simple filling cures a cavity. But if the decay spreads into the tooth’s inner pulp, you’ll need a root canal. Although most people may fear a root canal, the procedure isn’t painful and can restore most of your natural tooth structure, which is always better than an extraction.
A root canal is one of the most frequently performed dental treatments. The American Association of Endodontists estimates 41,000 root canals are done each day, which totals 15 million every year. If you’ve had a root canal or are getting one, you’re probably curious how long the treatment lasts. Read on to learn the answer.
Why you need a root canal
Deep inside your tooth is the pulp, where nerves and blood vessels lie. If bacteria reaches the pulp, the tooth becomes infected, painful, and discolored. Swollen gums and pus-filled pimples along the gums also indicate an infection in the pulp. Heightened sensitivity to hot and cold are other signs the pulp is infected.
Depending upon the severity of the infection, a root canal procedure takes one to two visits, each lasting 30 to 60 minutes. Local anesthesia numbs the tooth before treatment. Some people are given oral sedatives or IV sedation to make them more comfortable.
The dentist drills a hole into the tooth to enter the pulp. After the infection is cleaned from the pulp and canals, the tooth is disinfected and sealed with a putty-like material known as gutta-percha. The tooth is covered with a temporary filling or cap before the final filling and crown is placed.
You’ll want to avoid eating for a few hours until the anesthesia wears off. After the procedure, you may feel some discomfort for a few days. Taking over-the-counter pain relievers can reduce the pain. A soft diet of yogurt and pasta is also recommended for several days. Within a week, you should be fully recovered.
Despite the temporary discomfort during and after the procedure, a root canal preserves most of your natural tooth, eliminating the need for an extraction. It also stops the infection from spreading to other teeth and possibly damaging your jaw. But the best reason for a root canal is to end your pain.
How long will your root canal last?
Are you worried that your root canal won’t be successful? Don’t be! A root canal has a success rate of 97 percent. Although the chances of failure are slim, you should know the signs of an unsuccessful root canal:
- Pain lasting more than a week.
- Swollen gums.
- Pimple on gums.
- Pus with drainage.
- The tooth darkens in color.
- Sinus pain.
If the root canal fails the first time, you may need retreatment or, in severe cases, an extraction. But as noted previously, the percentage of root canal failures is extremely low.
When successful, a root canal can preserve your natural tooth for the rest of your life. But much could depend on what was done after the root canal therapy. According to a recent study, getting a permanent filling or crown, or both, extends the life of the root canal treatment. Root canals with a filling and crown last about 20 years, while those without a filling or a crown have a lifespan of 11 years. If no restoration is done after the root canal, the therapy may only last six-and-a-half years.
The best advice for avoiding a second root canal treatment? Regular brushing and flossing are needed to remove bacteria and ensure a strong, healthy tooth for a long, long time.
Need a root canal? Come to Espire Dental in La Mesa
Schedule an appointment at Espire’s La Mesa location today! Our highly trained dentists can preserve your natural tooth with a successful root canal. Don’t live near our La Mesa, CA, office? Find one of our other locations near you.
La Mesa, CA
8555 Fletcher Pkwy.
La Mesa, CA 91942