What can be done if my root canal treatment didn’t work?

I think that I got a bum root canal treatment. I had been reading about how not to worry about it because it’s a simple procedure but I have pain behind my ear on the same side as the tooth that had the infection. I went to an endodontist to be sure that I wouldn’t have no problems with it. The pain is not really all the time but every now and then during the day there is this sharp pain behind my ear. What can I do if the root canal didn’t work? – Tony P from Tennessee

Tony – It is possible for a root canal treatment to fail, but it might not be true in your case. Jaw or tooth problems can present themselves with pain behind the ear.

Regardless of the care that a dentist takes to clear the root of infections, there are times where all of the pathways cannot be reached. In those cases, a root canal treatment might not be successful. In rare cases, even an endodontist (root canal specialist) performs a root canal that fails.

You didn’t indicate how long it has been since you received the root canal treatment, but usually there are no symptoms of failure until an infection develops, which may take three to six months or longer.

It is best to return to the endodontist for him or her to exam your tooth to determine if it is the source of your pain. If infection is present, the endodontist will determine if another root canal treatment is required, if surgery is needed to access the root tip from the outside so it can be sealed, or if the tooth should be extracted and replaced with a dental implant or a dental bridge.


This blog post is courtesy of New Orleans cosmetic dentist Dr. Duane Delaune of Metairie

Composite fillings need replacing. Is this urgent?

When I lived in Ohio I had a dentist that was doing composite fillings 18 years ago. I haven’t had any problems with them until now. I had my first visit with a dentist since I moved to Georgia and she says that three of the filling on my bottom teeth are leaky and need to be replaced. Is this something I need to have done right away? Thanks – Matthew K. from Albany, GA

Matthew – If a gap forms between the tooth and the filling, bacteria can enter the area and cause decay. A leaky filling does need to be fixed, but it isn’t urgent.

Replacing the entire filling, as your dentist suggested, gives the composite a better seal on your teeth. There are better materials available now for composite fillings, compared to when you first received the fillings.

One advantage of composite fillings is that they bond to the tooth. If decay gets around the filling it’s easy to see. Amalgam fillings, sometimes referred to as silver fillings, often have decay beneath them. Unfortunately, the decay beneath amalgam fillings may go unnoticed until the filling is removed or replaced.

This blog post is sponsored by Metairie cosmetic dentist Dr. Duane Delaune.