When you have root canal treatment, you don’t want to repeat the process. Therefore, you will want success with your treatment the first time. A common question that we get at Innovative Endodontics is, “Can a root canal fail?” Find out what makes a difference in the answer and how you can increase your chances that it won’t fail.
To understand what happens during root canal treatment, you should know why an endodontist performs this procedure. First, dental decay causes bacteria to get inside a tooth. When this happens, you may experience common signs of needing a checkup, such as:
If you have any of the above symptoms, you need to have the tooth evaluated. Not everyone with these issues will require root canal treatment. However, for those who do, bacteria has reached inside the tooth, causing inflammation of the pulp. This pulp needs removal to prevent an abscess that could result in the loss of the tooth. Root canal therapy gets the inflamed pulp out of the tooth, gently cleans the inside of the tooth to remove bacteria, and seals up the tooth to prevent further infection.
The endodontist prepares you for the root canal by getting the tooth very numb. Then, as a safety measure, a dental dam will be placed around the tooth for isolation as well as protection of the rest of your mouth and airway.
Using advanced tools and technology, the endodontist will carefully and gently clean out the cavity and the inside of the tooth. This step is crucial to ensure the success of the root canal. Endodontists perform multiple root canal treatments daily, ensuring that you have highly skilled hands working on your tooth. The tooth is thoroughly cleaned to prevent any complications.
Lastly, after cleaning out the tooth, the endodontist seals the canal and places a temporary filling on top. You must then go to get a crown from your dentist for permanent covering.
While endodontists perform multiple root canal treatments each week with predictable success, complications can arise in rare instances. Some possible complications include infection after the treatment or slight discoloration of the tooth from the inside. Infections may require additional treatment endodontic retreatment, while whitening can correct discoloration.
Yes, a root canal can fail. There are several reasons behind the failure of this procedure, some of which may not occur until years after you have the treatment. Failure happens when the tooth experiences recontamination with bacteria. Causes behind this include the following:
Any of the above issues can cause the tooth to have bacteria re-enter the canals. Whenever bacteria get inside the tooth, you need additional treatment to remove it.
One reason for root canal failure immediately after the procedure is the complex anatomy inside the tooth’s canals. In this instance, there are tiny areas inside the tooth where the endodontist cannot reach to clean out with their tools.
Another reason behind failure may happen when the patient leaves the temporary filling in too long without getting a crown to replace it. This could allow the filling to experience damage that permits bacteria to get into the tooth.
Improper sealing of the inside of the tooth may also cause the failure of the root canal. However, well-trained endodontists typically have enough experience to make this and other reasons for failure extremely rare cases. The majority of root canal treatments are successful in removing bacteria and easing patient pain.
Signs that you may have a failed root canal are the same as those you experienced before getting treatment. Therefore, if you notice the same symptoms after getting root canal therapy, you should contact your endodontist.
Another indication of root canal failure is persistent pain or pain that returns after easing. You should not feel significant pain after a root canal treatment. Generally, patients feel minor pressure or tooth sensitivity for up to a week after the procedure. More severe pain could indicate a problem that you need to talk to your endodontist about.
While there is not much that patients can do to prevent root canal failure, they are in charge of finding a well-trained endodontist to perform the procedure and getting a crown over the tooth when recommended. After getting a root canal, continuing good oral hygiene can prevent future decay of the tooth and the need for endodontic retreatment.
Trust a trained and well-practiced endodontist who uses the most innovative tools available to improve root canal treatment. That doctor is Dr. Estes at Innovative Endodontics. While no endodontic procedure is without risks, we do everything to prevent the root canals we perform from failing. So now you do not need to worry about can a root canal fail. If you do experience complications from a previous root canal, we can also perform endodontic retreatment to correct the issue. Contact us today to schedule a consultation or find out more about getting your dentist to refer you to our practice. Let us help to change your mind about root canal treatment.