There are many factors that go into the long-term success of a root canal, and the condition of the tooth is a major factor. If there’s a lot of good-quality tooth structure remaining while doing the root canal, then your chance for the tooth fracturing is much less than if the tooth is already compromised.
Overall, root canals are about 90 percent effective, which means that sometimes they do fail. In general, a root canal can last anywhere from five to 30 years.
Why would a root canal fail?
There are various reasons why a root canal might fail, including a fractured tooth and infection. If a patient doesn’t get a crown on the tooth after a root canal, the tooth will most likely fracture and cause it to fail. Sometimes bacteria can leak into the inside of the tooth and can cause an infection. If the tooth isn’t completely sterilized during the initial root canal procedure, that can also lead to an infection.
What are the signs of a failing root canal?
Some signs that indicate a problem with a root canal are pain, infection, abscess, pressure, or difficulty chewing on that tooth. Other possible signs include swelling in the area and the gum starting to detach from the tooth.
If a root canal is failing, you will likely feel pain in your jaw. After a root canal, there’s no nerve associated with the tooth, so you won’t feel cold sensitivity like you might have before a root canal.
When should I contact a dentist about a failing root canal?
If you notice any issues with that tooth, you should contact your dentist as soon as possible. They will be able to take a look at it and run some tests to figure out the issue. You can take over the counter medicine for the pain, and you can always try icing the area if you’re experiencing swelling, but see your dentist as soon as possible.