What Are The Symptoms of Failed Root Canal Years Later?

What Are The Symptoms of Failed Root Canal Years Later?

July 1, 2023

Root canal in Los Gatos is a common dental procedure to treat a tooth that has become infected or inflamed. While the procedure is usually successful in saving the tooth, there are cases where the treatment can fail years later. Various factors, including infection, decay, trauma, or improper restoration, can cause a failed root canal. If left untreated, a failed root canal can lead to tooth loss.

Causes of Failed Root Canal

A root canal is used to treat infected or damaged teeth. While the success rate of root canals is high, there are cases where the procedure can fail. Some common causes of failed root canals include incomplete cleaning and disinfection of the root canal, new infection in the tooth, a cracked or fractured tooth, inadequate restoration or placement of the crown or filling, and improper shaping or length of the root canal.

Additionally, some patients may have underlying health conditions that can affect the success of the root canal.

Symptoms of Failed Root Canal Years Later

While the procedure is usually successful in saving the tooth, there are cases where the treatment can fail, and re-treatment may be necessary. Some of the symptoms include:

  • Persistent pain or sensitivity

Persistent pain following a failed root canal treatment is a concerning issue that should not be ignored. While root canals are typically performed to alleviate dental pain and save a tooth, there are instances where the treatment may not be successful.

  • Swelling or tenderness

Swelling or tenderness following a failed root canal treatment is a concerning symptom that should be addressed promptly. Failed root canal treatment can result in persistent infection or reinfection, leading to swelling, tenderness, or inflammation in the affected area.

  • Discoloration

Tooth discoloration can be a noticeable effect of a failed root canal treatment. The breakdown of internal tissues, bleeding, or the accumulation of bacteria and debris within the tooth typically causes discoloration. If you notice tooth discoloration following a root canal treatment, it is important to consult your dentist promptly.

  • Loose or shifting teeth

Experiencing loose or shifting teeth following a failed root canal treatment can be concerning and require immediate attention. Loose or shifting teeth can cause discomfort while biting or chewing, affecting your ability to speak properly. If you notice your teeth becoming loose or shifting after a root canal, it is crucial to seek dental care without delay.

  • Recurring infection

Experiencing a recurring infection after a failed root canal treatment can be frustrating and concerning. Recurring infection can manifest as persistent pain, swelling, sensitivity, or the presence of an abscess.

Seeking your dentist in Los Gatos as soon as possible is crucial if you experience any of these symptoms. Your dentist will evaluate the tooth and may recommend re-treatment or other procedures to address the underlying issue.

Treatment Options for Failed Root Canal

Re-treatment may be effective in resolving the issue. Re-treatment involves removing the existing filling material and thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting the inside of the tooth. The tooth is then filled with new gutta-percha and sealed.

In some cases, re-treatment may not be possible or may not be effective, and tooth extraction may be necessary. Tooth extraction involves removing the affected tooth and may be followed by tooth replacement options such as dental implants, bridges, or dentures.

Preventing Failed Root Canals

While some cases of failed root canals are unavoidable, there are ways to reduce your risk of experiencing this problem. These include:

  • Proper oral hygiene, such as brushing, flossing daily, and regular checkups, can help prevent tooth decay and infections that can lead to root canal problems.
  • Prompt treatment: If you are experiencing any signs or symptoms of a failed root canal, it is important to seek prompt dental care to prevent the problem from worsening.
  • Protect your teeth: Use a mouthguard when participating in sports. Avoid habits like chewing on hard objects or using your teeth as tools, as these can cause damage that may require root canal treatment.
  • Schedule regular dental checkups: Visit your dentist regularly for routine examinations and cleanings. This allows for early detection of dental problems to prevent the progression of issues that may lead to root canal treatment.


A failed root canal can cause persistent pain, swelling, and other symptoms affecting oral health and quality of life. Visit Mountain Bay Dental if you are experiencing any symptoms for the dentist to diagnose the underlying cause and determine the appropriate treatment.

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