Root canal therapy is generally safe and effective, with a success rate of more than 95%. Like any other medical or dental procedure, though, a root canal can occasionally fail. This is normally due to a loose crown, tooth fracture, or new decay. Root canals can fail soon after the procedure, or even years later. Here are the top 3 symptoms of a root canal failure, and what to expect if it happens.
It is normal to have some discomfort for a few days after your root canal. If you have severe pain that lingers, though, or if your tooth feels better and then starts hurting again, you may be experiencing a root canal failure.
You may experience some mild swelling around the treated tooth or in your face for a day or two after your root canal. New swelling or swelling that persists, though, could mean that your root canal failed.
A bloody or pus-filled discharge from the treated tooth or surrounding gums could mean that a new abscess has formed. Pain typically accompanies an abscess, but not always, so it is important to have any discharge checked out.
Treating a Failed Root Canal
If you notice any signs of a root canal failure, call your endodontist right away. There are treatment options that can quickly get you back on the road to oral health without extracting the affected tooth.
Root Canal Retreatment: A root canal retreatment is typically the first course of action. We will disassemble the restorative materials and carefully examine the inside of the tooth to find the problem. We will treat the issue, clean the canal(s), and rebuild your restoration.
Apicoectomy: If the retreatment also fails, you may need an apicoectomy. This procedure removes the tip of the tooth root and replaces it with a filling.
A failed root canal can be scary, and you might even worry that you will lose your tooth. When it is caught quickly, though, we have options to restore your tooth. Although more than 95% of root canals go off without a hitch, it is important to be aware. Keep an eye out for the signs of a root canal failure not only in the days following the procedure but also in the future. If you have pain, swelling, or discharge, call us right away.