Root canal treatment is also known as endodontic treatment and is a great way to save a badly infected tooth. Quite often treatment will preserve the natural tooth for decades or even for life, but everybody is slightly different and the success of a root canal can be affected by various factors. These factors can include the following:
- It’s been found that having root canal treatment earlier rather than later can help prolong the life of the tooth. For example, having root canal treatment before the infection can spread from the tooth into the surrounding bone will be more effective.
- Success can also be down to the time taken to complete treatment. Once the root canal has been cleaned out it is often temporarily filled to make sure the bacteria have been eliminated, before being permanently restored with either a filling or a crown. It’s important to ensure you return to your dentist for follow-up treatments in a timely manner so the tooth can be permanently filled or crowned as soon as possible.
- Some teeth are easier to treat than others. The front teeth only have one root canal whereas back teeth have several. It can often be trickier to treat back teeth and to gain access to all the root canals so they can be thoroughly cleaned out.
Front teeth can sometimes be restored with a filling, but back teeth are generally restored with a crown. This is because the back teeth are subjected to much heavier forces during chewing, and teeth that have had root canal treatment can become more brittle over time, increasing the risk of fractures. Protecting the tooth with a crown helps ensure this will not happen.
Most people who have root canal treatment will find it extremely successful, and the tooth will be problem free for many years to come.