What Happens If You Have a Failed Root Canal

What Happens If You Have a Failed Root Canal

Root canal treatment is associated with a very high success rate — greater than 95% of root canals are successful. That means less than 5% of root canals fail — and when that happens, you need to have the tooth retreated.

At Compassionate Endodontists New York/NYC, our team is experienced in advanced techniques aimed at treating failed root canals in New York City patients, repairing underlying issues and restoring the tooth’s structure and function. If you think you might have a failed root canal, here’s how we can help. 

How to tell if your root canal has failed

If you’ve had a root canal, you might be wondering how to tell if it’s failed. In most cases, the tooth that’s had the root canal will have some pretty specific symptoms, similar to the symptoms it had before you had root canal treatment. 

Depending on the cause of your root canal failure, you might have tooth pain or swelling in the gum surrounding the tooth. Pain might be continual or it might get a lot worse when you bite or chew. Sometimes, a tooth with a failed root canal will be extra sensitive to hot or cold temperatures or sweet foods.

Of course, the only real way to know if your root canal has failed or if you have another issue is to schedule an office visit. During your appointment, we’ll evaluate your tooth and gum and use 3D imaging technology to see inside the tooth and to view the area around the tooth’s root.

Treating a failed root canal

Failed root canals can happen for different reasons, and to some degree, your treatment can vary, too. During your visit, we’ll map out your treatment ahead of time to ensure the best results.

In most cases, retreating a failed root canal entails numbing the tooth, then accessing the central part of the tooth. Infected tissue is removed, along with the filling material originally used in your root canal. 

Once the canal is completely cleaned, we’ll seal the canal and refill it, treating the tooth with antibiotics as needed to kill off hard-to-reach germs. Sometimes, we use a special antibiotic filling as a first step, replacing it with a “regular” filling in a week or two. Finally, the tooth is covered with a new crown.

If you have an infection at the very tip of the tooth root, we might suggest a treatment called apicoectomy. In this procedure, we access the root tip, remove infected or dead tissue, and seal the root tip to prevent future problems.

Of course, if the root canal fails because the tooth is badly fractured or damaged, retreatment might not be possible. In that case, we may suggest an extraction followed by an implant or other restoration.

Protect your natural teeth

The primary purpose of a root canal is to save a badly damaged tooth and avoid extraction. Root canal retreatment has the same aim — to help you maintain your natural smile for years to come.

If you think you might have a failed root canal, prompt treatment is essential. To have your tooth evaluated or to learn more about root canal retreatment, call 929-344-0255 or book an appointment online at Compassionate Endodontists New York/NYC today.

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