I had a root canal on my first molar tooth in 2017 and had no problem with it until early this month. Now the tooth hurts every day. The pain is not intense but enough to take a pain reliever to distract me from work. Do I need to see a dentist right away? Will I need a second root canal? – Jared K. from NJ
Thank you for your question. Dr. Lane would need to examine an x-ray
What Can You Do About Pain in a Root Canal Tooth?
If you had root canal treatment years ago and now feel pain in the tooth, schedule an appointment to see a dentist as soon as possible. You are probably experiencing root canal failure, and only an examination can determine the cause of your pain.
Is Root Canal Failure Common?
About one in ten root canal treatments fail. The infection will flare up sometime later if a root canal tooth does not heal completely. A dentist cannot see deep inside tooth canals. Sometimes curved, hard-to-reach channels get missed, and infection lingers. Additionally, most general dentists do not have the instruments to reach deep into canals. But a root canal specialist (endodontist) has the required tools.
What Is the Treatment for Root Canal Failure?
The treatment for root canal failure is repeat root canal treatment or surgery. Although some dentists have advanced training in root canal therapy, most will refer you to a specialist. The endodontist will find the infected root, remove the infection, fill the area, and seal it off. Root canal surgery, or apicoectomy, accesses and treats the tooth through the bone and the root tip instead of the crown.
Also, your tooth may have cracked. After an examination and x-rays, an endodontist will explain if the tooth is savable or requires extraction and a dental implant or alternative tooth replacement.
San Antonio prosthodontist and cosmetic dentist Dr. Gilberto Tostado sponsors this post.