Root Canals, Do they really work?
I am often asked this question by my patient, "Do Root Canals really work, my friend had a root canal and she ended up losing her tooth anyway".
It is possible that you can still loose your tooth after our best efforts to save the tooth through root canal therapy, but it is not likely.
There are some requirements before I would recommend to my patients to have save their teeth through a major procedure such as root canal. Several factors have to be met. The tooth in questions has to have these qualities:
a. A favorable prognosis after root canal therapy is performed
b. The tooth should be healthy and should not have advanced gum disease.
c. There has to be enough tooth structure for the tooth to be able to support the final crown.
The last criteria is very important and is often missed. When root canals are performed properly, they have over a 95% or higher success rate, but if they are not restored properly, the process will not succeed. What do I mean by this?
When a tooth is treated for root canal therapy, it should be treated with a crown almost immediately or very quickly. I often perform the crown procedure at the same session I perform Root Canal Therapy. This will help prevent the tooth from fractures. If a tooth fractures, it might then have to be extracted. This is one of the most common causes that a tooth might have to be extracted after root canal therapy. Patients often are treated with Root Canal therapy and their pain is under control. But later, they might not be able to visit the dentist in time to complete the treatment for variety of reasons.
So my answer to my patients are often that if the selection of the tooth to be treated is correct, and the patient follows the treatment to the end by restoring the tooth with a crown, Root canal therapy works every time. I should know, I have had root canal and I then placed a crown of my tooth. I still enjoy using that very tooth. So, you can say, I practice what I preach.
by Dr. A. Fatemi