If you develop an infection in your tooth root, also known as a dental abscess, your dentist may recommend a root canal procedure. During this procedure, the infected material is removed from the canals within your tooth roots, and the canals are then packed with a rubberized material. While root canals are usually successful, they can fail to preserve the tooth. Here's a look at some ways to reduce the chance of root canal failure -- along with the treatment your dentist will recommend if your root canal does, in fact, fail.
Tips for Preventing Root Canal Failure
Sometimes root canal failure is out of your control. A small amount of infectious material may get left in the canal of the tooth, causing the infection to come back. Part of the tooth root may break off, causing rot to set in. In other cases, however, failure can be prevented by:
- Seeking treatment as soon as possible when you have symptoms of a dental abscess. Symptoms include pus coming from a pocket within your gums, pain in or around a tooth, and fever.
- Adhering to excellent dental hygiene routines, especially after you have your root canal performed.
- Taking the antibiotics prescribed by your dentist on time and for as long as recommended after your root canal procedure.
Signs of Root Canal Failure
If you've recently had a root canal, you should see your dentist immediately if you notice any of these signs that the root canal may not have fully addressed your infection.
- Pain returns to the tooth or jaw around the tooth. (An effective root canal removes the tooth's nerve and should, therefore, alleviate the pain.)
- Fever that persists even though you're taking antibiotics.
- Swelling in the area around the affected tooth.
Treating A Failed Root Canal
Depending on the circumstances, your dentist may attempt to further treat the tooth by extracting any lingering material from the root canals and re-packing them. However, in most cases, the tooth will have to be removed when a root canal fails.
Your dentist can then replace the missing tooth with a dental implant. This procedure is done in a two-stage process. First, you'll have a metal post implanted in your jaw bone. Once the bone adequately heals around the metal post, a ceramic tooth will be attached to the post via a little connector called an abutment.
It's everyone's hope that a root canal is successful, but if it is not, you can still enjoy the look and feel of a natural tooth with an implant.
For more information on dentists in your area, check out South Sound Family Dental & Dentures today!