What Can I expect after Root canal Treatment?



Root canal treatment is cleaning the spaces inside a tooth and filling them with a material to reduce or prevent infection on the tooth. It is performed when the nerve inside the tooth is beyond recovery or the space becomes infected.


Dentists and researchers have found that most root canal treatments are successful- but there is a some uncertainty overall around the outcome of root canal treatment.  


This is not necessarily because root canal treatments don’t work- they do (normally!)- it is more that studies find it hard to measure and agree on what ‘success’ is. There simply aren’t as many large-scale high quality ones as we’d like.



Researchers have tried to collate and compare the best studies looking at the outcomes of root canal treatment but because of the variability between studies it is hard to get firm conclusions.  However the research does seem to suggest:


  • Root canal treatment has varying success rates of between 70- 80%.  In most cases root canal treatment is successful- but not all.  No dentist can guarantee success due to the complexity of the treatment.

  • If the nerve is still alive and the tooth is not infected before the treatment there is a better chance of success.

  • If the dentist can put a good quality root filling in the tooth there is a better chance of success.

  • Having a good quality filling, crown or other restoration is important to making sure the tooth survives and is successful

  • A small number of patients may experience pain following the root treatment (flare-up)



It is important to note that clinical studies give a useful indication- but I can give you more tailored advice to your individual situation.