The Benefits of Endodontic therapies
Prevalence of endodontic disease
Oral diseases are the most common non-communicable diseases and affect people throughout their lifetime, causing pain, discomfort, disfigurement and even death. In WHO´s key fact it is stated that “..half of the world’s population with dental caries in permanent teeth being the most prevalent condition assessed.” (1)
If not treated the infection will spread into pulpal and eventually periapical disease, pulpitis and apical periodontitis. Apical periodontitis is a highly prevalent dental disease among the adult population in most countries.
The treatment of apical periodontitis is root canal treatment, which aims at eliminating infection and pain in order to create an environment favorable for healing.
Your teeth are important for your well-being, and root canal treatment can help you retain your teeth so you can continue to smile, talk and eat as you please. With proper care, most root canal filled teeth can last a lifetime.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is a ‘successful’ outcome following root canal treatment?
Most endodontic outcome studies have focussed on apical periodontitis, and defined success as the absence or reduction of a radiographic periapical lesion. Yet for patients, the absence of pain, the return of chewing function or the preservation of a tooth may be the key measures of successful treatment. Equally, when dentists inform patients about the relative success of endodontic and implant treatment, comparable outcome measures are needed, with success usually defined in terms of survival. Success can therefore mean different things to different stakeholders (2).
2. Is apical periodontitis a prevalent disease?
Yes, apical periodontitis is a prevalent disease in most populations, with 30-40% of adults having at least one tooth with apical periodontitis.
3. How often is a root canal treatment successful?
That depends on what you regard as a successful treatment outcome:
Prevention or elimination of periapical disease
In scientific reviews, the calculated success rate of primary root canal treatment varies from around 70-90% with the main source of information being retrospective studies, who’s variable quality demands caution. In patient-based cohort studies the success rate of primary root canal treatment ranges from 80 to >90% (2).
Elimination of pain
Scientific reviews have reported the prevalence of pain one-week post-operatively as 10-14%, reducing to about 5% within 6 months. These estimates are supported by recent patient-based cohort studies which also suggest that <5% of patients experience persistent pain 3-5 years after root canal treatment (2).
Retention of root filled teeth
Scientific reviews have estimated tooth survival following root canal treatment between 80 and 93% at 2-10 years. In population-based observational studies of general populations almost 90% of teeth were retained 10 years after root canal treatment, and in a study covering 20 years approximately 70% of root filled teeth were retained. Overall it is evident that a high proportion of root filled teeth are retained over periods of 10-20 years (2).
1. The Global Burden of Disease Study 2016, https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/oral-health
2. Kirkevang LL. Clinical epidemiology: measuring endodontic disease and treatment outcome. Textbook of Endodontology, edt Bjørndal, Kirkevang, Whitworth. Wiley-Blackwell 2018