When a root canal fails.

About one in ten of root canals become re-infected or “fail”, and continue to cause problems for the person.

When a persons tooth becomes infected, the tooth can either be extracted or a Seattle dentist can perform a root canal procedure. In most cases, root canal is the preferable choice, if it is not necessary to remove the tooth. A root canal is when the dentist makes a small hole in the infected tooth and then removes tiny nerves and blood vessels within the root of the tooth. The roots are then shaped, disinfected, and filled with an inert material. This procedure has about a ninety- percent success rate, and is usually performed with little discomfort or pain. Though this also means that about ten percent of the time the root canal fails, and tooth becomes re-infected. When a dentist performs a root canal properly on an infected tooth, a person will have no signs of infection or have any further pain. A root canal that was not performed properly and is failing will cause pain and discomfort, especially when biting down on something or drinking hot or cold liquids. In some cases noticed by your Seattle dentists, a failing root canal will cause swelling, also known as an abscess. A root canal can fail for several reasons; If some of the infected blood vessels and nerves are left behind in inside the roots, if the inert filling does not completely seal off the roots from bacteria, if the tooth fractures between or within the roots, or if the tooth is damaged during the procedure. A root canal can fail within days, weeks, months or even many years after the procedure has been completed.

Even if a root canal fails because it was not performed properly, there are still some options available. In many cases, the root canal can be re-treated. A Seattle cosmetic dentist removes the old inert filling; the roots are reshaped and disinfected, and then re-filled. If this procedure is not possible to perform, your dentist can perform a procedure called an apicoectomy. An apicoectomy involves having the tip of the root of your tooth surgically removed, and then placing a filling over the severed root tip. Although some dentists may recommend an apicoectomy as the initial remedy, it is usually prudent to consider re-treating the root canal first, if at all possible. If a root canal is properly re-treated, it will cause much less discomfort and pain than an apicoectomy. If these procedures fail, the tooth may need to be removed. The success of root canal is highly dependent on the skill, experience and technique of the dentist performing it. Some Seattle dentists may not feel comfortable providing root canal therapy, and may elect to send their patients to a root canal specialist (an endodontist) for treatment. Root canal procedures have a building success rate due to new techniques and continuing education.