Having a root canal treatment is usually the only option anytime there is a serious infection in the pulp of a tooth. An infection usually happens when a tooth is chipped or cracked leaving the pulp exposed. Root canals are a highly successful option for saving the tooth and most patients are satisfied with the outcome. However there are some cases where a root canal doesn’t provide a  permanent answer to the underlying problem. It comes down to the reason for the patient’s visit to the Endodontists office that can influence the outcome of whether the root canal provides a long term solution. The following is a list of conditions that make saving the tooth with a root canal challenging.

  1. Teeth with long or unusually curved roots that spread, for instance the Endodontist uses specialized equipment that are designed for normal roots. Patients with these long or unusually curved roots are difficult to clean and the results can be mixed.
  2. A crack in the root itself. A tooth treated with a root canal procedure is protected above the gum line by means of a crown for example. The exception is a crack that develops in the root itself which leaves the pulp open to an infection.
  3. Advanced periodontal disease. Oral health relies on a few factors and healthy gums are an important part of healthy teeth. If a patient has severe or recurrent gum disease saving a natural tooth with a root canal may not provide a long term answer.
  4. A previous root canal treatment of the tooth. If the original root canal procedure doesn’t provide a good outcome there are other ways to try and save the natural tooth. The Endodontist can retreat the tooth or an apicoectomy are a couple of ways to try to save the tooth. However the long lasting results often don’t provide a successful result.

Root canal treatment is the option most commonly used for a damaged or infected tooth, although it may not be the best choice for every situation. Patients may want to explore different possibilities for saving their natural tooth. At Kitsilano Endodontics we welcome the opportunity for patients to visit our office for a thorough exam and let us advise you on options for saving your natural tooth.