When A Root Canal Fails | Dental Implants

Updated: Aug 23

What is a root canal and when is it needed?

Root canals are used when a tooth has an infection in the root of the tooth. Root canals are preferred to extractions as they allow a patient to keep the tooth intact with only the need for a dental crown to cover the tooth and protect the root.


Root canals are put forth as a way to save failing teeth. However:

  • Root canal can fail, which requires the same painful and expensive procedure to be done on the same tooth over and over.

  • Each root canal and post placement can later weaken the tooth, meaning eventual extraction is likely.

  • Caps or crowns placed after a root canal only have a life of about 7–10 years, meaning multiple replacements over a lifetime.

  • Dental implants will replace the painful tooth completely with a realistic-looking tooth that can last a lifetime.

Dealing with a failed root canal

If the root canal fails, your first step is to call Advanced Dental Center right away. Our dentists will get you out of pain as soon as possible. Some root canals require a secondary root canal treatment. However, when a root canal fails, a re-treatment is not always recommended. Tooth extraction is normally the treatment followed as it removes the infected tooth. Extraction keeps the jawbone from being infected by the ailing tooth. With a missing tooth, there is a risk of the bone density decreasing, making it difficult for a dental implant to be placed in the mouth. If the jawbone starts to deteriorate, it can lead to shifting teeth, speech problems, and could even impact your appearance by causing your face to look “sunken in.”


Why do root canal fail?

Root canal would normally last for many years, but the “dead” tooth is still vulnerable to decay. Root canal will fail if a small amount of bacteria is missed and it is packed into the tooth. The bacteria will then continue to multiple and eat away at the tooth. When the root of the tooth is removed, the tooth becomes weaker and can break over time. A dental crown is used to protect the tooth, but it will need to be replaced every 7-10 years.


Why choose a dental implant?

If a root canal replaced with a dental implant is the option you are considering, here are some important things you need to know about dental implants:

  • Dental implants are a permanent solution to missing teeth.

  • Dental implants stimulate the jawbone to continue feeding itself with proper nutrients, keeping the bone strong and reducing the risk of having a sunken in appearance.

  • Dental implants look and feel like a traditional tooth.

How does a dental implant differ from a root canal and crown?

Instead of trying to cap or crown whatever is left of a previously infected tooth, a dental implant replaces the tooth entirely. Unlike a bridge, which might be the next step when a root canal and crown fail, a dental implant feels and works just like your natural tooth.


The implant process is started by gently and painlessly inserting a titanium root replacement into the jawbone. Once healing has taken place and integration of the screw is complete (generally in 8 weeks), a prosthetic tooth is placed on the screw. It will look and feel like the real thing. You care for an implant in the same manner that you care for the rest of your teeth—standard brushing, flossing, and rinsing.

Here is the example of dental implants (see pics above):

  1. Initial presentation of Infected teeth

  2. Removed those teeth and cleaned the infection bone graft placed for ridge preservation

  3. 3 months later 2 implants placed

Most patients comment that the dental implant feels just like a natural tooth, and some even claim that it feels like the strongest tooth in their mouth.


Don’t let a failed root canal continue to cause you pain! For more information about Dental Implants in Connecticut, please call our dental office in Norwalk, CT at (203) 364-5084 or schedule FREE consultation online!

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