What to do When a Root Canal Fails
Failed root canal pain

What to do When a Root Canal Fails

If there is a dental procedure that creates unnecessary stress and worry in patients, it would be the root canal. However, if a tooth becomes painful and infected, a root canal is an incredibly common way to treat it. The process often leads to a patient feeling better and improving their quality of life.

Every so often, a root canal will fail. Out of the many root canals that are done every year, very few patients experience issues that require them to go back to the dentist to redo a root canal. When they do, there are options to correct the problem so that they can feel better.

Why Would a Root Canal Fail?

It is very important to recognize the symptoms of failed root canal. Root canals are required when bacteria infect a tooth below the gum line. They require the use of special tools to remove the infection and the roots so that the rest of the tooth can remain healthy. A root canal can fail if there are canal branches that have gone undetected, cracks in the root or another obstruction that makes it impossible to properly clean the area.

In most cases, a patient will experience pain and discomfort because the bacteria won’t be completely removed, giving it a chance to grow and infect the area once again. It may also be possible that regular dental cleanings and checkups will detect a failed root canal. In either case, getting the issue taken care of as soon as possible is in your best interest.

What Can be Done When a Root Canal Fails?

If you find that your root canal is failing, there are several options that your dentist can consider. These include retreatment, removing the infected tooth or apicoectomy, which is surgery at the apex of the tooth.


When it comes to retreatment, this is the most common option. It also has the highest rate of success. Should the dentist decide to take this route, they will go in and remove the original filling, disinfect the canal and then reseal the tooth to prevent further irritation or the growth of bacteria.

Removal of the Infected Tooth

Depending on the severity of the infection and the condition of the tooth, removal might be the only option available. While it may seem like this is the best and most convenient option, most dentists try not to remove teeth if they don’t have to, as this causes issues. When you have gaps in your mouth, it could lead to your other teeth shifting and moving, which can cause more problems.

If you have enough bone density in your jaw, after your dentist remove the tooth, the dentist might insert an implant so that there isn’t a gap in your mouth. Not only will this take care of the infection in your tooth, but it will also keep your smile looking amazing and your teeth from moving around your mouth.


If the original root canal included a post and crown restoration or there is some type of blockage that makes it challenging to access the canal. Therefore, your dentist may use Apicoectomy procedure to take care of the problem. To access the root, the dentist will create a small flap in the gum. As a result the dentist will able to completely or partially remove the infected area. Once he or she cleans it, a new seal will be placed and the flap will be closed.

How Will the Dentist Determine Which Process to Use?

The dentist will have to assess how infected the tooth is, why the first root canal wasn’t successful and the best way to address the problem. The goal is to get your mouth and tooth health so that it no longer causes you any pain. While it can be scary to have to go in for another root canal, the end result is worth it.

If you don’t take care of the issue, it can lead to a host of other problems. As a result you may experience a lot of pain and discomfort. In addition,  the bacteria could spread to other parts of your mouth or even get into your bloodstream. If that were to occur, then you risk getting sepsis, which could result in death.

You may also lose your teeth to bacterial decay. This will have an impact on your smile, how you eat and your ability to talk. Visiting a dentist as soon as possible is in your best interest and will ensure that you get back to living your life to the fullest.

Before undertaking any procedure, the dentist will discuss the route they want to take and if there are any other treatment options. This is a good time to ask any questions that might arise. Remember, the goal is to make you feel better. The dentist will have your wellbeing and comfort in mind, so they will pick the treatment that will get you feeling better as quickly as possible.

How Much Failed Root Canal Treatment Cost?


When it comes to the cost of retreatment, the range for this is between $300 and $2,000. The price varies depending on the severity of the damage caused by the infection, what tooth is infected and the type of crown you choose. The cost of the crown or cap can range from $500 to $3,000.

The average cost of crown that is made from porcelain and metal is about $1,095. An all-porcelain crown costs around $1,430, while a metal crown costs around $1,350.

It’s possible that you may only need to get fillings after a retreatment root canal. If that’s the case, then you can expect to pay between $90 and $300 for those. It’s important to note that these prices don’t take insurance into consideration. If you have dental insurance, depending on your plan, you might pay less than what is quoted here.

Tooth Extraction and Dental Implants

When it comes to the cost associated with tooth extraction, on average, this should cost around $800 per tooth. However, this could cost less depending on the tooth that needs to be pulled. Although, it could cost more depending on how bad the infection is and how long it takes the dentist to clean the area out.

If you decide you want to have an implant placed in your mouth to prevent teeth from shifting and moving and to keep your smile looking nice, the average price for this is around $1,950. This price applies to one implant and the crown that attaches to the top. This will be in addition to the cost of cleaning the infected area.

Taking Care of Your Teeth

No one wants to be told that they have to have a root canal. Even though this is an incredibly common practice, it still makes patients nervous and uncomfortable. If there is anything more stressful than being told they have to have a root canal, it would be that the root canal failed.

Even though this news can be hard to hear, a root canal is an incredibly common procedure and it reduces pain and makes you and your mouth healthier. It’s rare that a root canal will fail, but if it does, there are ways to correct the problem, including retreatment or tooth extraction. In some cases, surgery might have to occur, but only if there is a blockage that makes it impossible to use one of the other treatment options.

Your dentist will find the right treatment to take care of the failed root canal so that you can get back to living your life. It might be nerve-wracking to have to go through this again, but the end result is less pain, a healthier mouth and a dazzling smile.

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