When a large cavity has already damaged the root of your tooth, the pulp in the cavity could become infected and inflamed. Dentists perform a root canal, or endodontic treatment, to remove the infected pulp and replace it with an inert material or crown to protect the tooth.
Many root canal treatments are successful but some may result in complications, such as new infection or pain. Post-treatment complications may be due to the following:
● an undetected crack in the tooth root
● a poorly done dental restoration procedure that allowed bacteria to penetrate the tooth
● an inner tooth seal that broke down over time, and
● a root canal that wasn’t cleaned well
Do You Need Another Root Canal?
When complications arise, the endodontist – the dental practitioner who performs root canal treatments – must look into your teeth and conduct an X-ray to determine if your first root canal contributed to the problem. A second root canal is inevitable if the first failed to remove all of the infected pulp from your tooth.
Do Root Canals Really Work?
According to endodontist Dr. Peter Shelley, first-time root canals should have an 85% to 97% success rate. However, he admitted that about 30% of the work he does involve correcting or redoing failed root canals done by other dentists. There were also cases wherein root canal was not the only or best option for treatment in the original oral problem.
How Can You Make Sure a Root Canal Will Be Successful?
Not all tooth pain or dying tooth should automatically get a root canal. The treatment should be a last resort if other dental solutions are no longer applicable. Before you fully commit to a root canal, you must do the following:
1. Choose a dentist who has performed many successful root canal therapies. He or she would have seen many similar cases as yours.
2. Ask the endodontist for a thorough diagnosis to determine if root canal is the only treatment left for your tooth. Have them document the diagnosis at all times.
3. Have pulp tests conducted to confirm the X-ray. Some problems may not be evident in the radiograph impressions.
4. Sometimes, because of the phenomenon called referred pain, other teeth beside the painful one may start feeling pain as well. Let the endodontist examine them to avoid treating the wrong tooth.
5. If thorough diagnosis takes time, be patient. Delayed treatment is better than a wrong one.