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Why Did My Tooth Start Hurting 2 Years After a Root Canal?

Posted by AllSmiles

I’ve had a toothache in a root canal tooth since early June, but I had the root canal in February 2021. Isn’t that weird? I am concerned that the root canal may have failed, and I will need an extraction and a dental implant. Why did this happen after two years? Thank you. Trevor



Six-step root canal diagram: infection, opening the tooth, removing infection, filling and sealing, post, dental crown
Incomplete root canal therapy can cause root canal failure

Your description sounds as if you are experiencing root canal failure. However, a dentist must examine and x-ray your tooth to determine the cause of your discomfort.

Why Would a Tooth Hurt Years After a Root Canal?

A tooth might hurt years after root canal treatment if the procedure is incomplete and the tooth cannot heal. Eventually, root canal failure will occur.

What Causes Root Canal Failure?

A January 2016 article in the European Journal of Dentistry lists the following factors as contributors to root canal failure:

  • Lingering bacteria – If any bacteria remain after root canal treatment, they will harbor in the tooth and eventually flare up.
  • Over- or under-filling the canal – Excess or insufficient root canal filling material can prevent a tooth from healing.
  • Improper sealing – An improperly sealed dental filling or crown can leak and contaminate the tooth.
  • Untreated canals – A dentist may miss a curved or obscure canal, leaving it untreated.
  • Instrument failure – In rare cases, rotary instruments used to reach deep into the canals may fracture and fail to reach the depths of the canals.

What Is the Treatment for Root Canal Failure?

Repeat root canal is the treatment for root canal failure. If a dentist cannot access the tooth infection from the tooth’s crown, a root canal specialist (endodontist) may perform root canal surgery or an apicoectomy. An endodontist performs root canal surgery, accessing the tooth through the gums and bone. After reviewing your X-ray, an endodontist will explain the chances of saving the tooth.

Your tooth may be savable if it has not cracked. Otherwise, you may risk losing the tooth and need an extraction and dental implant.

Schedule an exam with a dentist with advanced root canal training or an endodontist to evaluate your tooth.

Chandler, Arizona, dentists Dr. William Walden and Dr. Tyrel Beavers sponsor this post. They cater to patients with dental anxiety.

2425 S Stearman Dr.
Suite 111
Chandler, AZ 85286
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