Root canals are a common dental procedure that many people undergo every year. But how long do they last? And additionally, how long does a root canal last without a crown? Typically, a root canal is made to last your entire lifetime; however, it is a safe bet that it will last somewhere around 10-20 years! In this article, we will discuss the different factors that can affect how long a root canal lasts and what you can do to keep it the longest. So if you’re curious about root canals, keep reading!
What Does Research Say About Root Canal Longevity?
In 2016, a study was conducted to determine how long root canals last in the human mouth. This study looked at approximately 500,000 nonsurgical root canal therapy procedures and tracked them for a period of 10 years. The results showed that after one year, 93% of the root canals were still considered successful. After 5 years, 96% of the root canals were still considered successful, and after 10 years, 91% of the root canals were still considered successful.
Another study conducted in 2022, which looked at almost 100,000 root canals, found that the overall median survival time of a root canal was 11.1 years, with 26% of root canals lasting beyond 20 years.
These results show that, on average, a root canal should last somewhere between 10-20 years, though some can last 30 years or more.
What Factors Affect How Long a Root Canal Lasts?
Receiving a Crown After a Root Canal
Surprisingly, one factor that can affect how long a root canal lasts is whether or not a crown was placed on the tooth. This is especially an interesting question because many patients want to know if they should get a root canal without a crown or with a crown. Placing a crown on a tooth after a root canal therapy could significantly increase how long it lasts. According to current studies:
- Root Canal with a Crown + Filling: Lasts approximately 20 Years
- Root Canal with only a Crown: Lasts approximately 11.4 Years
- Root Canal with only a Filling: Lasts approximately 11.2 Years
- Root Canal with no Crown or Filling: Lasts approximately 6.5 Years
This suggests that, in some cases, getting a crown on the tooth after a root canal therapy could increase how long it lasts by up to 13.5 years!
Tooth Type and Root Shape
The type of tooth also affects how long a root canal lasts. This is because each tooth will have a different number of roots, different positions of roots, and different shapes of roots.
For example, molars generally have more roots than other teeth and can be harder to clean out during the root canal procedure. This means that a root canal done on a molar is more likely to have errors and, therefore, more likely to need root canal retreatment.
In contrast, incisors typically have one root and are easier to clean out during the root canal procedure. In addition, to this, they usually undergo less stress than the back teeth. This means that a root canal done on an incisor is more likely to last longer and be successful.
Timing of the Root Canal
Another factor that affects how long a root canal lasts is how quickly it is done after first being diagnosed by your dentist. If the root canal was done in a timely manner, then it is more likely to be successful and last longer. On the other hand, if the root canal is delayed, you allow the dental decay to spread, and it is more likely that the root canal will fail and need to be redone.
Gender and Age
Some studies have also shown that gender and age may play a role in the longevity of root canals. For example, patients who are older may have more wear and tear on their teeth when receiving a root canal. This means that they are more likely to have a root canal that does not last as long as someone who is younger.
What Can You Do To Ensure Your Root Canal Lasts Longer?
Seeing Your Dentist Regularly
The most important step you can take to ensure your root canal lasts longer is to attend regular dental check-ups. This will allow your dentist to monitor the tooth over time and catch any problems before they become more serious. Ideally, this allows your dentist to prevent a root canal from being needed at all. But if a root canal is required, it is better to have it done earlier rather than later to increase the chances that it will last.
Not Smoking After Root Canal
While yes, you can technically smoke after root canals, it is not recommended as it can delay the healing process. Smoking can cause decreased blood flow to the gums, preventing them from healing fully and can potentially lead to infection.
Eating Soft Foods After Root Canal
Before the tooth that has undergone a root canal receives its crown, putting too much pressure on them while you eat could cause it to chip or crack. Eating softer foods can help make sure that the tooth can heal properly. We have a full article and when and what to eat after your root canal to ensure proper healing.
Practice Good Oral Hygiene
Following a root canal, it is essential to practice good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day. Just because your dentist was able to fix your tooth does not mean that it can’t get infected again. Brushing can help you prevent any further damage and make it less likely that you will require another costly dental procedure ever again.
Overall, root canals are a common and straightforward dental procedure. With proper care, they can last between 10-20 years without needing any further treatment. The length of time that a root canal will last depends on various factors, such as the type of tooth, how quickly it was done after diagnosis, gender and age, and how well you take care of it. Taking precautions like seeing your dentist regularly, not smoking after the procedure, eating soft foods while the tooth heals and practicing good oral hygiene can all help ensure that your root canal lasts longer.
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No two mouths are the same, and each oral situation is unique. As such, it isn’t possible to give comprehensive advice or diagnose oral conditions based on articles alone. The best way to ensure you’re getting the best dental care possible is to visit a dentist in person for an examination and consultation.