My 2018 root canal on my lower right molar went smoothly, but since June this year, the tooth has hurt daily. Within the past week, I have taken ibuprofen daily to concentrate on work. The timing of this toothache is in the middle of my plans to leave town next week. How urgent is this issue? I don’t want to say I don’t have time for another root canal, but please tell me if I should see a dentist this week. Thank you. Haley from NH
Thank you for your question. One of our dentists would need to examine and x-ray your tooth to determine the issue, but we can explain what is probably happening.
What Can You Do About Pain in a Root Canal Tooth?
If you feel pain in a tooth that had root canal treatment years ago, we recommend promptly scheduling an appointment with a dentist. You have symptoms of root canal failure, but only an exam and x-rays can confirm that.
Is Root Canal Failure Common?
Root canal failure occurs if a dentist does not entirely remove the infection. Although a tooth may initially feel better, the infection will eventually recur. Sometimes, a dentist cannot see curvy tooth channels, and the disease will remain. Unless a dentist has advanced training in root canal therapy, they probably do not have instruments that access deep channels in the teeth. Your dentist may refer you to a root canal specialist (endodontist).
What Is the Treatment for Root Canal Failure?
Repeat root canal treatment or surgery is the treatment for root canal failure. After taking an x-ray of the infected tooth, an endodontist will use specialized tools to remove the infection and then sterilize the tooth. An apicoectomy or root canal surgery is sometimes required to access the root tip through your bone.
An endodontist will evaluate the condition of your tooth and determine whether it is savable or must be removed and replaced with a dental implant. Please do not delay treatment to prevent the situation from escalating.
David Finley, DDS, a Metairie, Louisiana, accredited cosmetic dentist and Academy of General Dentistry Fellow, sponsors this post. Read about what Dr. Finley and his team do to provide some of the best dental care in Monroe.