How long do teeth survive after a root canal?

Endodontics consists of removing the deep part of the tooth when it is injured or infected.

Recently, a group of researchers found that if you have undergone this treatment, your tooth can survive on average up to 11 years.

Endodontics is a treatment that consists of cleaning the tooth inside and filling it with an inert material, thus keeping it healthy so that it is useful for chewing, and avoiding having to extract the tooth.

It is performed under local anesthesia, so it is not painful, although it is true that, once the effect of anesthesia has ended, the patient may feel some discomfort when chewing during the following days.

This treatment is usually indicated when there is extensive caries or a dental fracture that has caused inflammation or death of the dental pulp. If it is not done, it can lead to the loss of the tooth, or the spread of the infection to the blood, among other conditions.

  • How to keep your teeth healthy for longer

Root canals can keep teeth affected by cavities and other problems for a period of time, but eventually the tooth becomes brittle and dies.

To learn more about how long this process can take, a group of researchers analyzed data from more than 46,000 patients who underwent root canals at 99 community dental centers in the United States, according to a HealthDay publication.

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The findings “provide real data from a broader range of patients, not just those receiving care in large health systems or who have insurance,” said Dr. Thankam Thyvalikakath, lead author of the study and director of dental informatics at the Regenstrief Institute. and Indiana University School of Dentistry, Indianapolis.

“This information can be used to guide dental practice and help patients and dentists make better care decisions,” Thyvalikakath said in an institute news release.

The median survival time after a root canal was 11.1 years, meaning half lasted longer and half lasted less.

However, the study found that several factors can lengthen or shorten the life of a treated tooth:

  • Teeth that receive a root canal, a filling, and then a crown last about 20 years.
  • Teeth that receive a filling or crown after a root canal last about 11 years.
  • Teeth that do not receive restorative treatment after a root canal last about 6.5 years.

The study also revealed wide regional differences. Root canals lasted 20.5 years in the Northeast, 11.2 in the Midwest, 9.1 in the South Atlantic states, 9 years in the South Central US, and 8.7 years in the West.

Insurance status also had a significant impact on tooth survival time, according to the report, published online recently in the journal Journal of Dental Research.

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“These data could also guide dental insurance coverage by demonstrating the value of crowns and permanent repair options,” said Thyvalikakath.

And he added: “Dental health is a public health problem that significantly affects the general health of people. Leveraging dental records can help us better understand ways to optimize treatment, identify causal relationships, and maintain healthy teeth and gums.”

To keep teeth healthy longer, experts recommend:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss regularly.
  • Maintain a healthy diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, cereals and legumes and low in fatty, sugary and salty foods.
  • No Smoking.
  • Also, it is important to visit the dentist for check-ups. Depending on the state of oral health, this may only need to be done every one to two years.

    Sources consulted: US National Library of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Regenstrief Institute, news release, May 17, 2022.

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