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How Long Does a Root Canal Last Without a Crown?

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A dentist is holding a model tooth and explaining how a root canal is being done to a female patient.

A root canal can be an effective dental procedure to save a tooth that has become infected or damaged. The procedure is commonplace in most dental offices and can provide lasting relief from severe tooth pain. 

After a root canal, it is often recommended that your tooth be capped with a crown to provide additional protection and prevent further damage. However, some people may delay getting a crown due to financial costs or other reasons. 

The exact amount of time a root canal can last without a crown will depend on several factors, including the location of the tooth and how well the tooth is maintained following the procedure. 

What Is a Root Canal? 

Root canal treatment is a common dental procedure used to treat severely decayed, abscessed, or infected teeth. This type of treatment is currently one of the only viable options to treat severely damaged teeth without having to extract them entirely. 

A root canal may be necessary for an infected or abscessed tooth, which may occur due to an untreated cavity. A cavity may start as a small hole on the surface of your tooth, however, without timely treatment, bacteria can grow within the cavity and lead to further tooth decay and infection. 

What to Expect from a Root Canal

During the procedure, your dentist will remove the damaged or infected tissue from the inside of your tooth, clean and disinfect the area, and fill the open space to prevent further infection. 

  • Numb the affected tooth: Your dentist will numb the area around the affected tooth with a local anesthetic, and then make a small opening in the top of the tooth to access the infected or damaged tissue. 
  • Remove the infected or damaged tissue (pulp): The pulp is a soft tissue that contains nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue and is located inside the tooth. If the pulp becomes infected or damaged due to trauma, decay, or other factors, it can cause severe pain, swelling, and infection in the surrounding tissue. 
  • Clean and disinfect the area: After the pulp has been removed, your dentist will use specialized tools to clean the area to remove any remaining bacteria. 
  • Fill the space: After the area has been cleaned and disinfected, your dentist will fill the space inside the tooth with a material, typically gutta-percha, to prevent further infection. 
man holds his face due to a tooth ache caused by a root canal

What Are the Benefits of a Crown? 

Dental crowns are a commonly used dental procedure designed to restore the shape, appearance, and function of damaged teeth. Following a root canal, a crown may be recommended to help prevent further damage to your tooth. 

If your dentist determines that a crown is necessary, they will assess your tooth to determine what type of crown is best suited for your specific dental needs. Crowns can be made from a variety of different materials, including metal, composite, or porcelain. 

Without a crown, your tooth may be more vulnerable to further damage and decay, which can lead to additional dental procedures. In some circumstances, this could mean needing a second root canal or even extracting the tooth. 

How Long Does a Root Canal Last Without a Crown?

A crown can be a beneficial final touch to restore your tooth after a root canal. However, crowns are not always necessary following a root canal. It is possible for your root canal to last for years to come without the addition of a crown. Here are some factors that may influence how long your root canal will last without a crown.

Location of the Tooth

The location of the tooth in your mouth can impact how long a root canal can last without a crown. Teeth at the front of your mouth are generally less susceptible to damage than your molars or premolars, which are located at the back of your mouth and are used for grinding and chewing. 

A crown can be especially beneficial for teeth at the back of your mouth that regularly endure a lot of pressure while doing daily activities like eating. 

Maintenance of the Tooth

Following a proper maintenance routine can help to extend the life of your root canal, even without a crown. Your dentist will give you specific instructions for post-treatment care to ensure the best outcome for your tooth. 

Good oral hygiene practices, such as regular brushing and flossing, can also help keep the tooth and surrounding gums healthy and prevent further damage or infection.

If the tooth is not properly maintained, it may become more susceptible to further damage and decay. This can result in the need for a crown sooner than if the tooth had been well-maintained after the root canal.

Quality Dental Care Near You

Maintaining a healthy smile starts with a visit to your dentist. At Heritage Pointe Dental, our team is here to support all of your dental care needs, including root canals and crowns. Contact our team to book your appointment. 

Written by Dr. Michael Trac

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