When a tooth becomes infected with caries, the hard tissues of the teeth get destroyed, and they break. Depending on the severity of the decay, the infection may encroach to the area of the pulp, so that a regular tooth filling is contraindicated. When this happens, a root canal is performed, and this renders the tooth dead. To eliminate the infection, the pulp tissue is removed, replaced and then sealed.
Root Canal Failure
Unfortunately, root canal treatments fail sometimes. Since dentists would want for treatments to be final, some cases fail either because it became re-infected or the initial infection was not completely removed, so the root canal treatment will be deemed a failure and one need to decide what’s next.
a) You can repeat the root canal treatment. Some people would go for a retreatment. If the assessment reveals that the root canal treatment initially performed was insufficient and improper, it may be repeated. A retreatment will more or less be like a standard root canal treatment, but it will involve the removal of the existing filling materials, so that the entire work may be redone.
b) You can perform an apicoectomy. If the root canal seems to be fine and the radiograph reveals the presence of an abscess on the tip of the roots, you can resolve this infection with an apicoectomy. That is a surgical procedure that involves burning a hole in the area of the tip of the roots (apex) to remove the abscess. After eliminating the infection, the apex/tip of the root is sealed, and the gums are reattached to the bone and allowed to heal.
c) You can extract the tooth. Sometimes a re-infection following a supposedly completed root canal presents hopelessness. Retreatment is deemed questionable, and the performance of apicoectomy cannot guarantee success, so to cut things short, a tooth extraction is preferred. A tooth extraction resolves the infection because the root of the infection is removed from the jaw, but it this means that the tooth is gone. If this is your treatment of choice, you have to discuss dental prosthetics with your dentist.
Since dentists would like to confidently say that a root canal treatment is a finite solution to a pulp infection, some cases fail. Even the most experienced Endodontist can face a failed root canal treatment, and it does not always signify dentist error. A lot of things can go wrong, following a root canal treatment, when this happens you have to decide on what to do next.