I had a root canal treatment several years ago. I lived in a different city then and went to a different dentist then. Two weeks ago, it started hurting again. I went to my new dentist and he did an x-ray and said the root canal treatment failed and he’d do a re-treatment. He did, then prescribed me some penicillin and pain meds. Several days later, it was still hurting quite a bit. I called and he said it takes some people longer than others. It has now been two weeks and I’m miserable. What do I do? Also, did the first dentist do the root canal treatment incorrectly?
I’m concerned about this. Even after a few days, your dentist should have noticed the antibiotic he gave you wasn’t working. At the very least, he should have tried a different antibiotic. In fact, penicillin isn’t really the medicine of choice in a root canal treatment. There is too much chance for antibiotic resistance there. When you called he should have switched you over to clindamycin or a similarly strong medicine.
I’d like you to call an endodontist in your area and let them know what is going on. They should call in a new antibiotic for you as well as schedule an emergency appointment to get you in as soon as possible. Though, with an antibiotic that works, they could wait a few days to get the infection under control. That would be fine too.
As for whether your original dentist did anything wrong, it would be quite hard to tell this far out. However, you should know even when a dentist does everything correctly, there is still a chance of root canal failure. You should know, the chances of a successful treatment go down with each retreatment. It doesn’t mean it won’t be successful, just that it is about a 25-50% chance it won’t.
If there is continued failure, it will likely mean you will have to extract and replace the tooth. I’ll tell you upfront the best tooth replacement option is a dental implant. However, if that does become necessary, I suggest you use another dentist. He doesn’t have the basics down yet, so an advanced procedure like implants is not something I’d risk with him.
This blog is brought to you by Lexington, KY Dentist Dr. Fred Arnold.