Does getting a root canal work?
In most cases, yes, getting a root canal does work. When the procedure is unsuccessful, it is usually due to factors out of the dentist’s control and has nothing to do with the quality of treatment. If that is the case, one must typically look into root canal alternatives.
Reasons a root canal could fail:
- The tooth has a crack that could not be detected radiographically. When the tooth is cracked, it can become re-infected and will have to be extracted.
- Not scheduling a follow-up appointment to place a crown following a root canal treatment. If a crown is not placed, the tooth can break. Depending on the severity of the break, the tooth may or may not be able to be saved.
- Failure can also occur due to lack of proper oral hygiene. If a patient does not visit the dentist regularly for cleanings and does not have excellent home care, bacteria can get under the crown (or filling), and the cavity can destroy the remaining healthy tooth structure.
Preventing a Failed Root Canal
The best thing for your smile, whether you’ve had a root canal or not, is proper oral hygiene. Along with visiting your dentist regularly, a good hygiene routine at home will significantly increase your chances of having a healthy mouth and a successful root canal. Proper home care consists of brushing at least twice a day, flossing at least five times a week and rinsing with a fluoride mouthwash.
Are complications likely in root canal therapy?
Root canal complications are not very common. In fact, the success rate for a root canal is 95%! In most cases, root canals go smoothly, and patients are surprised at how easy the process is. Many patients end up preferring root canal treatment over other dental procedures as it is usually a gentle procedure with minimal drilling. While rare, complications can happen. The doctor will inform you before the treatment begins if they notice any potential complications. With that, the doctor will usually also present any possible root canal alternatives.
What are potential root canal complications?
One of the most common complications is not being able to complete the procedure in one appointment. Sometimes, once the dentist looks inside the tooth, there can be too much inflammation and infection for the procedure to be completed. The infection can block the numbing effect of the anesthetic making it difficult for treatment to be completed comfortably. In this situation, you may be administered an antibiotic and return for a second appointment to ensure your comfort.
Another root canal complication that could happen is a broken tooth. While this doesn’t happen during treatment, it is a result of not scheduling to have a crown placed after treatment. When the dentist gives your tooth a good prognosis after a root canal, it is imperative to place a crown as soon as possible to prevent it from breaking.
Having an extra canal can also cause complications. Because the entry into the root canals is about the size of a needle point, it can be possible to miss an extra canal that anatomically is not usually there (i.e. certain teeth typically only have between 1-3 roots depending on the tooth). Canals can also “hide” behind others making them difficult or impossible to see on an x-ray. If a canal is missed and the pulp tissue is not removed, you can have pain after the root canal and the dentist will have to re-access the tooth to treat the extra canal.
Other more rare root canal complications can cause perforation or broken files which may require a visit to the endodontist (root canal specialist). If this is the case, Northstar will refer you to root canal specialist.
Are there any root canal alternatives?
Unfortunately, there are not currently few root canal alternatives. Once the nerve of a tooth is infected or the tooth has died, the only options are root canal therapy or to extract the tooth. When a tooth needs a root canal, a filling or crown will not take care of the infection. While decay can be removed from the enamel and dentin layers of the tooth, the infected pulp cannot be removed this way. The infection will persist causing more pain and complications without a root canal. Having an infection in your mouth can actually cause other issues in your body. Getting rid of the infection is imperative at this point.
The best root canal alternative is to remove the tooth and replace it with a dental implant vs. bridge.
Should I get an extraction instead?
Extraction may seem like a more cost-effective and time-saving solution, but it should be a last resort. An extraction usually won’t be recommended by a dentist unless all other options have been exhausted. If the tooth has a poor prognosis, then extraction may be the best course of treatment. However, many times a root canal can save your tooth and restore it back to normal function. It may be easy to think that you should save time and money by having the tooth pulled. However, there are other problems associated with extracting a tooth.
When your natural tooth is in place, the bone in your jaw stays at a healthy level. When a tooth has been removed and is not replaced by a dental implant, surrounding bone will begin to disintegrate. This can potentially cause further tooth loss. Another reason for a root canal rather than extraction is when a tooth has been removed and is not replaced, the surrounding teeth will shift to try to fill the gap. Also, the teeth above or below the gap will ‘super erupt’ (grow down or up) in an attempt to fill the space. This can significantly change your bite and make chewing difficult. Whether it be a front or back tooth, having space can also make you self-conscious and less likely to want to smile and talk with confidence.
Note: You might be searching for the cheapest root canal Lincoln, NE has to offer. By partnering with Lincoln Dental Plans, Northstar is able to give you affordable dental care of all kinds. Find out more by checking out their website.
Make easy, affordable payments for your procedure with dental payment plans we offer.
Nebraska Family Dentistry has dental clinic locations in all parts of Lincoln! Choose “near me dentist” location that is convenient for you.
Follow our social media outlets for discount specials and dental wellness news.