Perhaps one of the most common dental procedures to resolve a tooth infection is through root canal treatment. It involves the removal of the infected pulp and bacteria build-up at the centre of the affected area. While it is perfectly normal for the tissues around your teeth to feel tender and sore following the procedure, it should quickly resolve the next day. If the discomfort lasts and continues to increase, it might be a sign of failed root canal treatment.

A person can experience root canal failure due to various reasons. In most cases, the problem occurs as a result of damage after the procedure. It can appear days after the process, while others happen several years later. To avoid recreating your situation prior to treatment, you must know how to identify and quickly resolve a failed root canal.


How to Identify A Failed Root Canal?

Root canal treatment is a safe procedure, with a success rate of over 90%. However, like any other dental and medical procedures, a root canal can fail on occasion. It is crucial to learn how to assess if discomfort is a part of the recovery process or something you should be concerned about.

retreatment for failed root canalAre you aware of the warning symptoms of a failed root canal? If you are wondering how to identify one, below are the top four signs that you should look out for:


1. Pain when biting or chewing

A slight discomfort and pain a few days after your root canal are normal. Although, pain that lingers and does not resolve in time might be a sign of a root canal failure. Proper assessment by your dentist will help you find out any underlying causes.


2. Swelling or tenderness

You will typically experience mild tenderness and swelling around the treated area. This sensation should last a day or two after the treatment. If the swelling persists, it could mean that infection took place.


3. Discharge from a pimple-like blister

A pus-filled or bloody discharge coming from the treated area could be a sign of an abscess formation. Your dentist will require you to have an x-ray to check if there are signs of reinfection and bacteria build-up.


4. An increase in tooth mobility

Loosening of the tooth within its socket could be a sign of a failed root canal. Without immediate treatment, there will be a reduction of elements that helps stabilise the tooth in place. An increase in tooth mobility will eventually result in tooth loss.


Treatment for Root Canal Failure

If you notice any signs of a possible root canal failure, you should call an emergency dentist right away. Here are several treatment options that can help you restore your oral health:


Root Canal Retreatment

Usually, the initial course of action for a root canal failure is retreatment. It involves the disassembling of the previous root canal filling and careful examination of the pulp area. An x-ray imaging helps detect and locate the source of the problem. Once identified, your dentist will redo a proper root canal process.



In more severe circumstances, a root canal treatment must include surgery. Your dentist will perform apicoectomy when x-ray scans show issues along the gum area. During this procedure, the dentist will access your root canal through the gums. It allows the dentist to clean the canal without removing the filling or dental crown.


Dental Crown and Filling Restoration

Most of the time, a failed root canal may be due to a concern in the placement of the dental crown or filling. The presence of dislodged materials provides easier access for bacteria to re-enter your teeth. If you notice any signs of damage to the sealing of your root canal, prompt treatment is necessary. Fixing this issue as early as possible will help prevent the need for complex retreatment.



A failed root canal is a dental emergency that requires immediate attention. It would be best to consult a dental professional within the next twenty-four to forty-eight hours to avoid further complications.

If you are looking for emergency dental care in Brisbane, please don’t hesitate to contact our team. Our clinic will help you deal with them as soon as possible.

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