Root canals, although they have a bad reputation, can save your tooth. It is an endodontic procedure that treats severe infection inside the tooth. Root canals are successful more than 85% of the time. However, it is possible to have a failed root canal. Failed root canals occur when all of the tooth’s canals are not spotted and removed or when the infection was not cleaned out thoroughly.
If you have recently had a root canal or you are planning to have the procedure soon, it is essential that you learn these common signs of a root canal failure, so that you can let your dentist know right away. You may need endodontic retreatment or your dentist may suggest another treatment option.
- Pain – A small level of pain or ache is normal immediately following a root canal. However, if your pain persists or worsens, you may need to have your tooth treated again.
- Tenderness – You will be advised to eat soft foods for a certain time following a root canal, but if you are still experiencing tenderness at the root canal site after you return to a normal diet, call your dentist.
- Lack of Sensitivity – You may be cautious about your tooth being too sensitive, but a failed root canal can actually result in a lack of sensitivity, particular to temperature.
- Swollen Gums – Inflamed gums are one of the strongest indicators of a failed root canal. This signals that bacteria and decay are still invading and irritating your root canal area.
- New Infection – Let your dentist know immediately if you notice fluid coming from your tooth, as this could be a sign that infection has re-entered the site that was previously cleaned out.
- X-ray Proof – When in doubt, request an x-ray to show any signs of a failure. From this, your dentist can determine exactly what the problem is and recommend a root canal retreatment if necessary.
Remember that a root canal can fail weeks, months or even years after your initial procedure. Always be on the look out for problems surrounding the treated tooth and let your dentist know of any changes or discomfort in that area. Practicing good oral hygiene following a root canal procedure can also save your investment.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV,