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What to Do if a Root Canal Fails

Posted on 3/15/2017 by Tessa Smith-Greisch
An elderly woman receiving a root canal.
An infection inside your tooth can happen for several reasons. You may have suffered severe gum disease, and an abscess could have formed at the tip of the root. Or, maybe the tooth has experienced damage that allowed bacteria to get inside.

It is not always necessary to have an infected tooth removed. In fact, the infection can be removed and the tooth saved with a root canal. Under most circumstances, a root canal is a great permanent solution, but there are instances that cause it to fail.

What is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a procedure that is done to remove infection from the inside of a tooth. A hole is drilled to remove the infected pulp and the dead (or dying) root.

The canals are shaped, as well as cleaned and disinfected. The tooth is then filled and capped with a crown. The crown acts as a barrier, strengthening the weak tooth and keeping out bacteria and other contaminants.

What Causes Failure?
For the most part, root canals are successful procedures. But there are instances when they might fail:

•  The entire infection is not cleaned out.
•  A canal may be missed.
•  Damage to the crown that can let in new bacteria.
•  The weakened tooth itself may have suffered damage.
•  Bacteria can get in under the crown.
•  The crown was not placed in a timely manner.

What Should You Do?
A failed root canal needs to be addressed by your dentist. In most cases, it can be retreated. Your dentist needs to first remove the crown to gain access back into the tooth.

From there, the new infection can be removed, and the canals cleaned again before finally capping the tooth with a new crown. Under extenuating circumstances, the tooth may need to be removed, and replaced with an implant.

If you start to experience pain where you have previously undergone a root canal, do not ignore it. The pain could indicate that the root canal has failed. Contact our office to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

Madison Oral Surgery & Dental Implants

2921 Landmark Place, Suite 100
Madison, WI 53713 MAP
P. (608) 960-7650
F. (608) 274-9224

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2921 Landmark Place, Suite 100 Madison, WI 53713



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