Root canal treatment is one of the most successful procedures in dentistry, with 90% stopping the infection of the inner tooth and the pain it causes, especially if performed by an endodontist, who has the training, techniques, and tools to do it right.
But why do a small percentage of root canal therapies fail? For one thing, everyone’s teeth are somewhat different and affected by the individual’s state of overall oral health, so some cases are much more complicated than others. For example:
An complex network that is difficult to clean. The intricacy of a patient’s root canal network makes it challenging to remove every bit of infection, even when viewed through a special high-powered microscope. Afterward, the canal is filled with a neutral material that discourages re-infection, but no procedure will ever be 100% guaranteed because a biological organ like the mouth is almost endlessly variable and complex.
The severity of the infection. If a patient has not been brushing and flossing carefully, a bacterial film will develop on the particles of food and stick around the tooth at the gum line. This soon hardens into what is called tartar, which can only be removed by a dental hygienist using special tools. Soon, an infection sets in and the gums begin to pull away, while the outer enamel of the tooth is eroded by a bacterial acid. The next layer, the dentin, can then be penetrated until the infection reaches the pulp, the core of soft tissue and nerves. That’s when it becomes painful. Eventually, it could even reach the jawbone that supports the tooth. The more severe the infection is, the harder it is to completely remove and save the tooth.
Age of the tooth. Root canal treatment has to penetrate into the inner core of the tooth and scrape out the infection, which can weaken the structure. An older patient has teeth that have experienced a lot of wear and tear and are more prone to fracture. One way to minimize this happening is to place a cap on the top, known as a crown, which will help hold a weak tooth together and also protect against further infection. Additional support can be provided by the endodontist via placement of a biocompatible metal post in the core.
If pain continues after a root canal procedure for a few days, the gums swell around the tooth, it is sensitive when touched or when you chew on it or when it encounters cold or hot foods and beverages, set an appointment as soon as possible to come in for an examination. When you do, ask for a demonstration on exactly how to most effectively brush and floss, since it isn’t always easy and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of necessary root canal therapy. New York City Endodontics services the areas of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Hoboken, Jersey City, Fort Lee, and more – schedule a consultation by contacting our team today.