5 Common Reasons Why a Root Canal Fails

Having a root canal done can help ease tooth pain and treat an infection. This kind of endodontic procedure is usually successful, but it can fail in some cases. When a root canal fails, you might need to have retreatment done to relieve ongoing pain. Learning about some common reasons why root canals fail can help you better understand why your endodontist might recommend retreatment.

Root Canal Retreatment

1. Your Root Canal Wasn’t Done Properly

Root canals involve removing all of the infected pulp inside the affected tooth. This eliminates the bacteria causing the infection. In some cases, the doctor who performed the original root canal can be at fault if it fails. For example, they might not have thoroughly removed the infected pulp inside your tooth. When this happens, the infection doesn’t go away on its own, and it can become worse. You might experience ongoing discomfort until all of the infected material is removed.


2. You Didn’t Get a Crown After Your Root Canal

After having a root canal done, the affected tooth might need some kind of protection to keep bacteria out and prevent another infection. Endodontists recommend getting dental crowns to protect teeth after a root canal, so they can properly heal. Some teeth, such as canines, might not need a dental crown, since you don’t use them much for biting or chewing food. Molars usually do need a dental crown after a root canal, since they undergo more wear and tear as you chew and bite. In most cases, getting a final crown requires the patient to return to their general dentist to have the final crown fabricated and applied. Not getting the protective crown in a timely manner can lead to problems with healing and increase the risk of having another infection occur.


3. You Might Have Trouble Maintaining the Crown

In some cases, endodontists put temporary dental crowns on to protect teeth until the permanent crowns are ready at your general dentist. These temporary crowns aren’t as durable as permanent ones, so they can become damaged more easily. If you accidentally bite or chew with a temporary crown, it might come off or break. This can interfere with the healing process and lead to ongoing pain if bacteria enter your tooth again. Permanent crowns are more durable and don’t typically need any kind of special care. However, you should make sure you brush them to get rid of any bacteria or food particles that are on them. If permanent crowns become loose or damaged, this leaves the affected teeth vulnerable to bacteria and infections. You might end up needing retreatment if the interior part of a tooth becomes infected again.


4. Your Root Canal Might Not Last Forever

Root canals can last for many years, especially when they’re done correctly the first time. However, the results of your root canal might not last a lifetime. If you had this procedure done a long time ago or if you’ve run into problems with a more recent root canal, your endodontist might recommend having retreatment done. This helps provide the affected tooth with protection from bacteria and infections. For example, the results of a root canal that was done a few or more decades ago might not be protecting your tooth from infection anymore.


5. Your Tooth Has Too Much Damage

Root canals can provide effective treatment for infections in many cases, but not if your tooth has too much damage. Teeth with severe damage might need another form of treatment, such as extraction, rather than a root canal. If you have a tooth with serious damage and your root canal has failed, you can discuss treatment options with your endodontist.


Signs of a Failed Root Canal

How can you tell if you have a root canal that failed? Having a root canal done should ease pain from an active infection inside your tooth. If you have ongoing pain, this can indicate that your root canal wasn’t successful. Other signs of a failed root canal include swollen gums, tooth discoloration, and drainage in the affected area. You should have your tooth checked as soon as possible if you have signs of a failed root canal or tooth infection.


What to Expect With Retreatment

Having retreatment is similar to having a root canal done. Your endodontist will open the tooth, remove the filling inside it, inspect your tooth, remove decayed or infected tissue, clean the area, and put a new filling inside it. Your endodontist might place a dental crown on your tooth after this to protect it from infection.


If you have a root canal that failed, please contact Largo Endodontics to set up an appointment with our endodontist, Dr. Ernest Rillman. Dr. Rillman can evaluate the affected tooth and determine if retreatment might be needed.