Do all root canals get infected eventually?

T

toraflora

Junior member
Joined
May 8, 2019
Messages
16
Location
Pasadena
#1
Online sources and some dentists say that root canals could last a lifetime, but from everyone I know who has had a root canal for a substantial period of time, it went bad eventually sooner or later. Another common claim is that all root canals will eventually get infected and become problematic at some point in life, and I wanted some opinions on the validity of this statement. Does anyone have a long-lasting root canal that did not go bad/have any problems?

Also, I don't have a crown on my root canaled tooth that I got RC done on it 1.5 years ago on the molar. Endodontist told me I couldn't get it done because of incoming wisdom teeth or something, but since it's been so long, should I still consider getting a crown?
 
Gordon

Gordon

Administrator
Staff member
Verified dentist
Joined
Oct 25, 2005
Messages
5,295
#2
45 years and counting for one of mine... The common claim is pretty rubbish really, are we referring to the "focal infection" theory?

The reason crowns are usually suggested after RCT is because a lot of tooth has to be removed to get access to the canals to successfully treat them, this plus the increase in brittleness of a dead tooth can lead to the tooth fracturing over time.
It's hard to say in your specific case because I haven't seen your tooth and in fact, you haven't mentioned which tooth it is, but the general advice is to crown any molar or premolar which has had an RCT.
 
T

toraflora

Junior member
Joined
May 8, 2019
Messages
16
Location
Pasadena
#3
Thanks for the reply! I had RCT done on the 2nd molar on the right side (the one right next to the wisdom tooth). I initially wanted to get my RCT molar removed out of fear for the claim of having root canal unknowingly cause autoimmune diseases, but I was told not to get it removed. I still don't have a crown on it but am planning on getting it after I get my wisdom teeth removed in 2 weeks. It would be ~2 years since getting the RCT, so would it be too late to get the crown then?
 
brit

brit

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 23, 2006
Messages
7,076
Location
In My Dental Happy Place
#4
Based on my personal experience as a patient, it would not be too late to get the crown assuming the tooth was adequately sealed by the endodontist.
I can't beat Gordon's 45 years for survival of an rct'd tooth but I am at at least 25 years+ on one. The skill-level, time taken and equipment (microscope) of the practitioner is really what seems to determine whether a root canal works and survives or not. If a root canalled tooth feels weird occasionally, it can be because a canal/anatomy has been missed but often a re-treat will sort that out. If you are in USA and seeing a specialist endodontist, I would expect you would be getting high quality care.
 
T

toraflora

Junior member
Joined
May 8, 2019
Messages
16
Location
Pasadena
#5
Thanks for the info! Is there a reason why some root canals fail many, many years after getting it done? I just visited a specialist who did an x-ray on my teeth. He said that my root canal was "done perfectly" and there wasn't anything wrong with it, but I'm still young. Any way to preserve the survival rate of this tooth, and is there anything like if the tooth is able to survive a few years after the initial treatment, the likelihood of its survival later should be higher?
 
brit

brit

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 23, 2006
Messages
7,076
Location
In My Dental Happy Place
#6
Not sure that they do fail after many many years....I think the ones which don't work, i.m.e. maybe never feel right from the get go and are the ones you hear about from friends/work colleagues when they go and get them extracted as failures. Personally I wouldn't get a tooth crowned after rct until it felt completely settled. I know in USA this is taken out of your hands sometimes, as the deal for referring you to the endodontist is that they only place a temp filling so you have to go back to general dentist to get the crown asap. I would say you should just care for rct teeth like natural teeth daily brushing and flossing and regular dental checks and cleans.
 
Gordon

Gordon

Administrator
Staff member
Verified dentist
Joined
Oct 25, 2005
Messages
5,295
#7
I initially wanted to get my RCT molar removed out of fear for the claim of having root canal unknowingly cause autoimmune diseases,
Can't let that one pass... this is the "focal theory of infection" which was first suggested in the 1920s, the idea has been fairly comprehensively debunked. Wikipedia has quite a good article on it if you're interested:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Focal_infection_theory

The things which cause late failure of RCT'ed teeth are usually either fracture of the tooth, see previous reply about weakened crown, or more decay, which can go relatively unnoticed due to lack of symptoms because of the RCT...
 

Similar threads