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Maximizing Success Rate: Understanding Root Canal Therapy

Root canal therapy, a term often met with apprehension, is a standard dental procedure that can save teeth and alleviate pain. When it comes to performing this treatment through a dental crown, many patients have questions and concerns. 

This article aims to demystify the process, clarify success rates, and offer peace of mind by shedding light on what root canal therapy through a crown entails. 

We'll walk you through the procedure, discuss the factors influencing success rates, and provide valuable tips for aftercare and maintaining optimal dental health.

Understanding the Procedure: A Step-by-Step Guide

Root canal therapy is vital for saving a tooth that has been severely damaged or infected. When this treatment is required through an existing crown, the process involves a few meticulous steps to ensure the integrity of both the tooth and the crown.

  1. Assessment and Anesthesia: Initially, a thorough examination is conducted, often accompanied by X-rays, to assess the extent of damage or infection. Local anaesthesia is then administered to ensure a pain-free experience.

  1. Accessing the Root Canal: The dentist carefully drills a small hole through the crown to access the infected area in the pulp chamber.

  1. Removing Infected Tissue: Infected nerve tissue and debris are delicately removed from the tooth’s canals. This step is crucial to eliminate infection and prevent further damage.

  1. Cleaning and Shaping: The canals are then cleaned and shaped using fine dental instruments, preparing them for the filling material.

  1. Filling the Canals: A biocompatible material, usually gutta-percha, is used to fill the cleaned canals. This step is vital to prevent reinfection.

  1. Sealing and Restoration: The hole in the crown is sealed with a temporary or permanent filling. In some cases, a new crown may be required if the existing one is compromised during the procedure.

High Success Rates with Skilled Care

Root canal treatments, including those performed through a crown, generally boast high success rates. 

Studies indicate a success range of 86-98%, showcasing the effectiveness of this procedure when performed by experienced dental professionals.


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Key Factors Impacting Success Rates

  1. Professional Expertise: The skill and experience of the dentist or endodontist are paramount in achieving a successful outcome. Choosing a qualified professional familiar with this specific procedure is crucial.

  1. Extent of Infection: The severity and reach of the infection significantly impact the procedure’s success. Early detection and treatment typically lead to better outcomes.

  1. Condition of the Crown: The state of the existing dental crown is vital. If the crown is damaged during the procedure or has extensive decay beneath it, a new crown may be necessary, which can slightly alter the success rate.

  1. Post-Procedure Care: Adhering to post-procedure care instructions, including oral hygiene practices and follow-up appointments, greatly contributes to the long-term success of the treatment.

How long do root canals last? 

Recent studies have shown that on average a new root canal will last 20 years, when it’s followed by a crown and subsequent filling.

If your teeth didn’t receive any restorative work, the root canal life span lasts approximately 6.5 years. To receive the best possible treatment, also your dental insurance plays a vital role. Because oral health is public health, the more support you receive from your insurance, the more and better treatment you’ll receive from your dentist. 

At Open & Affordable, we partner with over 60 insurance companies and we can find the best way to help you if you need a root canal procedure.

Factors why root canal could fail 

Despite having high success rates, root canal procedures could fail because of the following reasons: 

Preventing Bacterial Re-Entry After Root Canal Therapy

Post-root canal therapy, there's a risk of bacteria re-entering the tooth. The integrity of the restoration, particularly the dental crown, plays a crucial role in warding off this bacterial leakage. 

Opting for a dentist who not only has a wealth of experience but also uses high-quality materials can significantly diminish the likelihood of treatment failure due to coronal leakage.

The Challenge of Hidden Tooth Roots

The success of root canal therapy is often depending on the complexity of the tooth structure. Hidden roots, which may not be visible on standard x-rays, can remain undetected and cause pain if not properly treated. 

These elusive roots can complicate the treatment process, making it essential to thoroughly investigate and address them to ensure successful outcomes.

Risks of Root Perforation in Confined Spaces

During the meticulous process of cleaning the tooth in root canal therapy, there's a small risk of root perforation, where the tooth's root might be accidentally punctured. 

This inadvertent occurrence, if not identified and properly sealed, can open a pathway for bacteria to re-enter the tooth, compromising the success of the treatment.

Complications from Undetected Tooth Cracks

Sometimes, a minuscule, undetectable crack in the tooth can pose significant challenges post-treatment. 

Despite the best efforts of a dentist, such hairline fractures can eventually become conduits for bacteria to invade the tooth again, undermining the efficacy of root canal therapy.

Ensuring a Smooth Healing Process

Post-root canal care is essential for a quick and effective recovery, especially when the procedure involves a crown. Here are some guidelines to follow:

  1. Pain Management: It's normal to experience some discomfort after the procedure. Over-the-counter pain relievers, as advised by your dentist, can help alleviate any pain.

  1. Avoid Chewing on the Treated Area: To prevent damage to the temporary filling or crown, avoid chewing on the treated side of your mouth until the permanent restoration is complete.

  1. Maintain Oral Hygiene: Continue with regular brushing and flossing, but be gentle around the treated area. Good oral hygiene aids in faster healing and prevents further infections.

  1. Follow-Up Appointments: Attend all scheduled follow-up visits so your dentist can monitor healing and place the final crown if needed.

  1. Watch for Signs of Trouble: If you experience severe pain, swelling, or signs of an allergic reaction, contact your dentist immediately.

Proactive Dental Care to Avoid Complex Treatments

Maintaining strong dental hygiene is not just a practice; it's a pathway to preventing complex dental procedures such as root canals. 

Regular dental check-ups are crucial in the early detection and management of potential dental issues. An effective oral hygiene routine, which includes brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and using mouthwash, significantly lowers the risk of decay and infection, especially under a crown. 

Your diet also has a significant impact on your oral health; minimizing sugary and acidic foods helps prevent tooth decay and maintains your overall dental wellness. Importantly, addressing even minor dental problems promptly can save you from more extensive treatments down the line.

In essence, being proactive about your dental health is not just about avoiding problems; it's about preserving your smile and ensuring a lifetime of oral health.


Understanding root canal therapy through a crown and its intricacies can help demystify this often misunderstood dental procedure. 

Staying informed and diligent in your oral hygiene efforts plays a significant role in the health and longevity of your teeth. Remember, proactive care is your best defence against complex dental treatments, paving the way for a healthy, radiant smile.

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