Whenever you have an oral procedure performed, it is a good rule of thumb to ask about the life expectancy of what is being done. Whether it is the filling of a cavity, veneers, implants, or other corrections made, whenever it comes to making corrections and improvements to your teeth, you need to know how long the correction will last and whether or not you will need to address the procedure later on down the line.
Over time, due to the general usage of your mouth, crowns may become loose, cavities might need to be refilled, and veneers may begin to show their age. The same is true with a root canal. Before having a root canal performed, you need to know how long the cap or filling will last and whether or not you will need to have the filling replaced.
Whether you have recently had a root canal performed or your dentist recently informed you of the need to have the procedure performed, here is what you need to know about how long root canals last.
The Life of a Root Canal
There are various timetables to consider when it comes to a root canal. For example, the tooth’s health is vital in how long a root canal will last. While external complications can affect a root canal, most root canals last at least a decade. Many will last far longer than this, while others might require some upkeep before the decade mark.
The Location of the Tooth Will Impact The Life of the Root Canal
Teeth with fewer canals will generally last longer than those with multiple canals. Teeth toward the front of your mouth usually have a single canal (although some might have two). Because there are fewer canals to clean out and fill, the tooth will likely last longer.
Molars at the back of your mouth can have four canals, which means it takes longer to perform a root canal and increases the chance of complications later on down the line. While most molar root canals last for many years, the additional chance of complications might force you additional treatments down the road.
Age and Health of the Tooth
In general, the younger the tooth, the healthier it is likely to be. As teeth age, the effects of general wear and tear, dental procedures, and decay can start to show. A tooth like this is more likely to experience breakage than a tooth in a younger patient. Even though the filling itself used within the tooth remains the same at any age, the older tooth is more likely to sustain damage around the filling, which not only further impacts the health of the tooth but the root canal itself. So, in general, the root canal of someone in their 30s is more likely to last longer than someone in their 60s.
In order to help extend the life of the root canal for someone with older, or more brittle teeth, crowns and even bridges might be recommended to help seal off the root canal. This adds stability to the filling, so instead of being self-sufficient, the crown will provide an additional layer of protection, and a bridge will secure the tooth to neighboring teeth. Each case is different, and your teeth are different from everyone else’s, so it is a case-by-case basis. Your dentist or endodontist will go over the best options for longevity.
Proper care goes a long way in extending the life of a root canal. This means you need to brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once a day (although flossing twice a day is better). This will protect your teeth and help you avoid tooth decay and gum disease. Gum disease can spread to the teeth, and if you’ve already had a root canal, you have less organic material for the disease to infect, which means it doesn’t take as long to corrupt the tooth.
Proper oral care means you also need to schedule regular visits with your general dentist every six months. This will help your dentist pinpoint minor issues before they can develop into more serious situations.
Watch What You Eat
There are certain foods that are more likely to cause damage to the teeth. Hard foods, like certain nuts, hard candy, or trying to chomp down on unpopped popcorn kernels (or even ice) can damage your teeth. Because you’ve already had a root canal performed, chewing hard foods may lead to sustained damage.
However, with an intact tooth, you are more likely to feel damage due to sharp pain, but because the nerve endings have been cleared out from the tooth, you might not even realize you have sustained some kind of damage with the root canal tooth. This is why you should not only visit the dentist every six months, as your dentist can spot damage you might not have felt, but you need to avoid eating hard foods like that.
Making small adjustments to what you eat (or how you eat) can extend the life of your root canal.
Schedule Your Root Canal Consultation Today
Have you been told you need to have a root canal performed by your dentist? Maybe you would like to have a second opinion, or perhaps you’d like a specialist to carry out the procedure. Whatever the case may be, when it comes to root canals, an endodontist has the experience, knowledge, and equipment to ensure the highest quality of care.
At Southern Endodontic Specialists, our team will discuss exactly what needs to be done, what to expect from the procedure, and how long the root canal will last.
If you’re ready to begin planning for your root canal or you want to have additional questions answered regarding your specific needs, all you need to do is give our staff a call or request a consultation visit directly through our website.