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What Are The Symptoms of Failed Root Canal Treatment?

By 12 August 2023August 18th, 2023Dental Health3 min read

A root canal treatment is performed to save a tooth that has been severely damaged or infected by removing the infected pulp and cleaning the inside of the tooth. While the majority of root canal treatments are successful, there are instances where the treatment might not be completely effective. Here are some symptoms that could indicate a failed root canal treatment:

  1. Persistent Pain: One of the most common signs of a failed root canal is persistent or severe pain. If you experience pain that does not improve or even worsens after the initial healing period following the root canal, it could indicate an issue.
  2. Swelling: Swelling around the treated tooth, in the gum area, or on the face could indicate an ongoing infection. Swelling is often accompanied by pain, tenderness, and possibly the formation of a dental abscess.
  3. Prolonged Sensitivity: It’s normal to experience some sensitivity after a root canal, but if the sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures lingers or worsens over time, it could be a sign that the treatment was not successful.
  4. Recurring Gum Boils or Pimple-Like Bumps: The presence of gum boils or pimple-like bumps (dental abscesses) on the gums near the treated tooth could indicate an infection that has not been properly resolved.
  5. Discoloration: If the tooth treated with a root canal becomes discolored, it might suggest that there is an issue with the treatment or that there’s still an infection present inside the tooth.
  6. Visible Changes: If you notice any changes in the tooth, such as a crack or fracture, it could indicate that the tooth wasn’t fully stabilized during or after the root canal, leading to a potential failure.
  7. Persistently Foul Taste or Odor: A persistent bad taste or odor in your mouth, even after maintaining good oral hygiene, might indicate an infection that wasn’t fully treated.
  8. Lack of Healing: If the area around the treated tooth does not show signs of healing, such as the reduction of swelling or tenderness, it could be a sign that the root canal was not successful in removing the infection.
  9. X-ray Findings: Sometimes, a failed root canal can be detected through X-rays, which might show persistent infection, a poorly filled canal, or other issues.

If you experience any of these symptoms after a root canal treatment, it’s important to contact your dentist or endodontist (root canal specialist) as soon as possible. They can evaluate the situation, conduct further tests if needed, and determine the best course of action, which might include additional treatment or possibly tooth extraction and replacement options.

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