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How Long Do Teeth Last After Root Canal Treatment?

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When bacteria enter a tooth because of dental decay or damage, they infect the pulp. Once that happens, the infection will spread and eventually kill the pulp inside the tooth. The best treatment for an infected tooth is root canal therapy. Root canal therapy removes all of the infected tissue within a tooth. Once completed, a root canal tooth can then be sealed to prevent reinfection.

But some patients wonder just how long teeth can last after root canal treatment. While it is true that teeth are weaker than normal after root canal treatment, they can still last many years or even a lifetime. The length of time a tooth lasts after root canal therapy depends on several factors.

Teeth treated early during infection last longer

Once infection sets in, pus, which is a combination of dead bacteria, white blood cells and biological tissue, forms inside a tooth. This liquid is poisonous to your body and can damage the tissues surrounding a tooth if not removed quickly. So if you wait too long to have root canal therapy on a tooth, the pus will damage the bone and ligaments keeping your tooth in place.

The longer you wait, the more damage will occur. This will ultimately weaken the tooth and reduce the time that the tooth lasts after root canal therapy.

Younger teeth last longer than older teeth

As you age, your teeth weaken and become more brittle than before. This is due to normal wear and tear and erosion over many years. So an older tooth may not be as strong as a younger tooth after root canal therapy. But you can opt to have a dental crown placed over the root canal tooth to provide additional support.  

Oral hygiene practices affect the longevity of root canal teeth

Good oral hygiene will ultimately help to extend the lifespan of a root canal tooth. Bacteria are always a threat to your teeth and their supporting tissues, such as gums, so to ensure that your root canal tooth lasts as long as possible, maintain good oral hygiene practices.

In general, root canal teeth will last at least several years in most cases. In fact, a study published in 2016 showed that 86% of molar teeth treated by an endodontist (root canal specialist) lasted at least 10 years.

If you have an infected tooth, then seek the help of a dentist immediately. The longer you wait, the more damage the infection will do to your tooth and the surrounding supporting tissues.