What are the signs of a failed root canal?
When a root canal treatment is performed to your tooth, it will hopefully last a lifetime.
As any other treatment some complications or failures might happen whether your root canal was performed months or even years ago.
Let’s start by highlighting some common causes for root canal treatment failure that include:
- Incomplete removal of pulpal tissues & bacteria due to varying size and shape of the tooth roots canals
- A leaking, open margins or dislodged of final restoration like dental fillings or crowns, only, inlays. Etc
- Cracked or fractured tooth structure especially middle & apical thirds
- Cavities, infections, deep pockets or periodontal diseases
When root canal therapy heals normally, the patient will usually experience a reduction in pain until full healing where there is no more pain or other symptoms.
However, failed root canal treatment can cause same the same symptoms that required the root canal treatment in the first place, these symptoms will include either one or more of the following symptoms:
- Pain, Sensitivity & Tenderness: This pain might be severe especially on biting or you might find it unbearable to eat ice cream or sip hot beverages
- Swelling: At the side of infected tooth, this swelling might be big in size and very painful
- Pus Discharge: In some cases, you might experience pus or blood discharge from the affected tooth that usually appears as s small pimple on the gum next to the affected tooth. This discharge indicates a new infection has hit the same tooth
- Boil or pimple: It appears on the gum next to the affected tooth as the body has established a sinus tract with the intent to drain pus associated with the infection.
- Tooth Discoloration or darkening: It may be a sign for root canal treatment failure & you have to get it checked out.
- Tooth Mobility: Increasing of the tooth mobility can be a clear sign for root canal treatment failure that might appear with severe bone loss due to the infection associated with the tooth roots
- Maxillary Sinusitis of Endodontic Origin: In some cases, infections in your back teeth can spread into your maxillary sinus & you’ll experience sinus issues like runny nose, congestion, stuffiness, facial pain & bad breath.
- No symptoms at all: Root canal treatment failure might come with no pain, swelling or other symptoms which you can check it up by a routine dental x-ray with your dentist which is so important to check the status of your teeth & previous root canal treatments
If you experience any of these signs, it’s important to see your dentist as soon as possible to prevent further spread of the infection and to plan for treating the failed root canal.