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Published: May 31, 2024

The Longevity of a Root Canal

Imagine a dull ache radiating from deep within your tooth, a constant throbbing that disrupts your sleep and makes chewing a chore. This pain could be a sign of infected tooth pulp, the innermost layer containing nerves and blood vessels.

Eddie G. Tennison often recommends root canal treatment to address this infection. This treatment removes the infected pulp, cleans the canals within the tooth's root, and seals them to prevent further problems.

However, a lingering question often arises after the procedure: How long does a root canal last?

Understanding Root Canals

A root canal, or endodontic therapy, is a dental procedure aimed at saving a severely infected or decayed tooth. It involves removing the infected pulp, cleaning the root canal, and sealing it to prevent further infection. This treatment alleviates pain, preserves the tooth, and promotes oral health.

Why Do People Need Root Canals?

Left untreated, a tooth infection can wreak havoc on your oral health. The infection can spread to the jawbone, leading to complications like bone loss and abscesses. Root canals prevent this domino effect by eliminating the source of the infection – the infected pulp.

The procedure not only alleviates pain but also safeguards your natural tooth, allowing it to continue functioning normally and preventing the need for extractions and replacements.

What is the Lifespan of a Root Canal?

While root canals boast a high success rate, the burning question remains: what is the lifespan of a root canal? The answer, like many things in life, isn't a simple one.

On average, a tooth that has undergone a root canal can last anywhere between 10 to 15 years. However, several factors can significantly influence this timeframe.

Factors Affecting the Longevity of a Root Canal

The Power Of Dental Crowns

Due to the removal of the pulp, teeth following root canals are more susceptible to fractures. A dental crown, a custom-made cap placed over the tooth, acts as a suit of armor, strengthening and protecting it from further damage.

Studies have shown that teeth with crowns following root canals can last up to 20 years or even longer compared to those without crowns (lasting around 11 years).

Oral Hygiene Habits

Just like any other tooth, meticulous oral hygiene is vital for the longevity of a root canal-treated tooth. Brushing twice daily, flossing regularly, and scheduling regular dental checkups help remove plaque and bacteria, preventing reinfection and extending the lifespan of the root canal.


Molars, the workhorse teeth in the back of your mouth responsible for grinding, generally experience more wear and tear compared to front teeth. This increased stress can put a root canal-treated molar at a higher risk of needing retreatment in the future.

The Initial Root Canal Procedure

The skill and experience of the dentist performing the root canal play a significant role in its long-term success. A meticulously cleaned and sealed root canal system minimizes the risk of future reinfection.

Signs That a Root Canal Might Need Retreatment

While root canals are highly successful, there are instances where retreatment might become necessary. Here are some warning signs to watch out for:

  • Persistent Pain Or Sensitivity: If you experience lingering pain or sensitivity around the treated tooth, especially when chewing, it could indicate reinfection or inflammation.
  • Swelling Or Inflammation Around The Tooth: Visible swelling or redness around the tooth is another potential sign of a problem and necessitates a visit to your dentist.

If you experience any of these symptoms, don't hesitate to schedule an appointment with your dentist to determine the cause and discuss potential treatment options.

Alternatives To Root Canals (If Applicable)

In some cases, depending on the severity of the infection or the condition of the tooth, alternatives to root canals might be considered. However, it's crucial to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each option with your dentist.

Remember, staying informed empowers you to make the best decisions for your oral health!

Importance of Considering All Options

While a root canal aims to save your natural tooth structure, there might be situations where extraction becomes unavoidable. It's essential to explore all available options with your dentist to make an informed decision based on your specific circumstances.

Potential Benefits and Drawbacks of Tooth Extraction

Extracting a severely infected tooth can alleviate pain and prevent the spread of infection. However, it also comes with its own set of challenges.

Missing teeth can disrupt your bite, making chewing difficult and affecting your speech. Additionally, replacing missing teeth with implants or bridges can be a more expensive and complex procedure compared to a root canal.

Cost Considerations of Root Canals

The cost of a root canal can vary depending on several factors, including:

  • Location: Dental fees can fluctuate depending on your geographical location.
  • Complexity of the Procedure: The number of canals in the tooth and the difficulty of accessing them can influence the cost.
  • Need for Additional Procedures: Sometimes, additional procedures like X-rays or antibiotics might be needed, adding to the overall cost.

Recovery After a Root Canal

What to Expect After the Procedure

After a root canal, it's common to feel some temporary soreness or sensitivity near the treated tooth. OTC pain relievers can usually manage this discomfort.

Your dentist will give you personalized instructions on caring for your tooth and easing any discomfort you experience.

Managing any Discomfort

To minimize discomfort after a root canal, here are some helpful tips:

  • Place a cold pack on the outer side of your cheek close to the treated tooth.
  • For the initial few days following the procedure, it's advisable to consume soft foods.
  • You can alleviate discomfort by using non-prescription pain medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
  • Practice gentle brushing and flossing around the treated tooth.

Experience Quality Dentistry with Eddie G Tennison DDS

Looking for top-notch dental care in Fort Round Rock, Texas? Look no further than Eddie G Tennison DDS. With over three decades of experience, Dr. Tennison and his dedicated team provide comprehensive dental services, including root canal therapy, orthodontics, and pediatric dentistry. Trust in our expertise and personalized care to keep your smile bright and healthy for years to come.

Our practice is committed to delivering exceptional dental care in a warm and welcoming environment. From routine cleanings to complex procedures, we prioritize your comfort and satisfaction every step of the way.

Schedule your appointment today and experience the difference quality dentistry can make in your life.


a photo showing a person's healthy teeth through the dental mirror

Root canals are a valuable dental procedure that can save your natural tooth and alleviate pain caused by infection. The lifespan of a root canal can vary depending on several factors, but with proper care and good oral hygiene, a root canal-treated tooth can last for many years.

If you have any questions or concerns about root canals or suspect you might need one, schedule an appointment with your dentist to discuss your options.

For expert dental care in Round Rock, Texas, look no further than Eddie G Tennison DDS!

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