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Failed root canal negligence claims

Root canal treatment, also known as endodontic treatment, is a dental procedure used by dentists to treat infected or dead teeth. The procedure involves removing the infected or dead material from within the tooth and root, then filling in the root canals inside the tooth to prevent the infection coming back. There is usually a crown or dental filling used on top of the root canal to help reconstruct and protect the tooth afterwards.

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How do I know if my root canal has failed?

There is a recovery process from a root canal procedure, and it is perfectly normal to expect some discomfort after the anaesthetic has worn off. The process involved in the procedure may irritate the nerves surrounding the affected tooth, which can make the area a little uncomfortable for a few days. However, if the pain continues or worsens after two to three days, it could be a sign that there is something not quite right with the root canal or elsewhere in your mouth or jaw. There are several reasons for a failed root canal to occur. If this happens to you after your root canal procedure, you should go back to your dentist to see if there is anything else wrong or whether you have an infection. Whilst the majority of root canal procedures go to plan and patients experience no major problems afterwards, it is possible that your root canal might have failed.

What are the symptoms of a failed root canal?

If you think that your procedure has failed, there could be a number of different failed root canal symptoms to watch out for, depending on the reasons that the procedure hasn’t worked as it should have.

Pain: The most noticeable sign of a failed root canal is usually pain. If a root canal is carried out successfully, there should only be mild discomfort for few days or so afterwards, at most. If the pain continues or worsens after this, it can be a sign of the presence of bacteria in the root canal starting to cause an infection.

Whilst some minor pain or tenderness in the first couple of days after the procedure is to be expected, it’s unusual for this pain to last longer than two to three days at most, or for the pain level to increase at all. This type of pain could indicate an infection, which could be a result of the root canal cavity not being fully cleaned or properly filled during the procedure. If this is the case, the root canal procedure would usually need to be done again to make sure that the area isn’t prone to re-infection in the future. If infections are not properly treated and prevented from reoccurring, they can spread from the original tooth.

Sensitivity to hot or cold: If you notice that the area around the root canal procedure is suddenly sensitive to hot or cold, it can be a sign that you need to visit your dentist again to see if the treatment has failed.

Swelling: If the area around the root canal tooth swells up or is painful, it can be the sign of an abscess or another type of infection. It’s important to visit your dentist if you notice swelling or pus in the affected area of the mouth. If there is swelling inside the mouth or facial swelling around the area, it could be a sign of reinfection.

Pus or discharge: Pus or discharge around the treated tooth can mean that an abscess has formed, and this is sometimes (but not always) accompanied by pain in the root canal area.

Crown or filling failure: If the filling or crown, which is used to help restore and protect your tooth after a root canal procedure, falls out or becomes loose, you need to visit your dentist to discuss if any further treatment is needed. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the root canal procedure has failed, but you may require a new filling, crown or other further treatment to resolve the issue.

Experiencing any one, or more, of these symptoms after root canal treatment is a sign that you should see a dentist at the earliest opportunity to treat the cause of any infection and see what can be done with the root canal. An x-ray at your dentist’s practice should show whether the procedure has failed.

What happens if a root canal fails?

If you think that your root canal procedure has failed, the first thing you should do is visit a dentist so that they can determine the cause of the failure, treat your symptoms and advise on any further treatment that may be needed to resolve the problem.

If you believe that your root canal failed because of your dentist’s negligent care, and as a result of this you have suffered pain, further injuries including perhaps the loss of the tooth or severe distress, you may be able to make a claim for compensation for the failed root canal.

Contact the Dental Law Partnership for a free claim assessment so that we can determine if you have a valid claim to make.

Can I sue my dentist for a failed root canal?

If your root canal treatment has failed due to the negligence of your dentist, you may be able to make a claim for compensation against them for dental negligence. Depending on the circumstances and the results of the negligence, a successful claim could see you being awarded a sum of compensation for what you have been through.

Not every failed root canal procedure is a result of dental negligence. If you think that your root canal failure was a result of negligence, you can contact us for a free claim assessment.

What’s the process for a failed root canal compensation claim?

If your root canal did fail due to the negligence of your dentist, we can help you to make a compensation claim. Our dental negligence cases are funded by a no win, no fee agreement, which means that if your claim is not successful you won’t pay any legal costs.

The majority of failed root canal claims are resolved at an early stage, but occasionally it might be necessary to commence court proceedings in order for you to gain justice for the negligence that harmed you. For more details about the process and what is involved in making a dental negligence claim, visit our claims process page.

How long does a root canal take to heal?

As with any dental treatment, it is important that you practise good oral hygiene both before, and after the procedure. This is especially true when recovering from a root canal treatment. It is likely that you will be advised to stick to a soft food diet for a day or two after your treatment, and it is also likely that the tooth that has been operated on will feel sensitive for a few days. If you are still in pain, or feel unwell, a few days after your procedure, contact your dentist immediately. If you have experienced problems and complications due to your dentist doing a sub-standard job, then it might be possible to sue your dentist for compensation. Contact Dental Law today for a no-obligation chat about your potential claim.

How much compensation can I get for a failed root canal claim?

There is no set amount of compensation for a successful failed root canal claim, because every case is different and there are a number of factors for how the value of a claim like this is calculated. These include:

  • The extent of the negligence by your dentist e.g. how long a period of time/the number of visits they were negligent in their care
  • The severity of the injury you suffered as a result of the negligence. The level of pain you experienced as well as any other form of suffering.
  • The extent and cost of further dental treatment required in order to fix the damage caused by your negligence dentist, which may include replacing the tooth with a dental implant.

Once we have fully assessed your case, we can estimate the potential value of the claim if it is successful, based on our extensive experience of similar failed root canal cases. If the case proceeds to court, the judge will decide on the compensation amount if they rule in your favour.

Can I get a failed root canal redone?

Depending on the reason(s) why your root canal treatment failed, you may be able to get the procedure redone. If the failure of the root canal was due to infection because the cavity or root was not cleaned fully before being filled, you may be able to have this redone with a new root canal treatment. However, if the failed root canal has caused further damage to the tooth, there may not be enough stable tooth remaining for the procedure to be carried out again with a good chance of success. It is sometimes the case that the tooth may need to be extracted. Your dentist can discuss the options with you.

How often does a root canal fail?

If root canal treatment (also known as endodontic treatment) is carried out to a good standard, the success rate can be up to 90%. In some cases, good root canal treatment can save a tooth indefinitely, potentially for a person’s lifetime. Some teeth, depending on specific issues, may benefit from root canal treatment but, further issues down the line, such as the tooth cracking or developing decay, may mean the tooth requires further treatment, despite the good care of dental professionals throughout.
However, there are some circumstances in which root canal treatment fails due to the negligence of a dentist. Sometimes the infected pulp is not properly removed, the root canals not cleaned fully, or a number of other errors may occur. If the procedure fails to provide a long-term solution and the patient requires further treatment, this often results in extraction of the tooth entirely.

Does a failed root canal always result in extraction?

If you have experienced a failed root canal, there may be several options open to you, depending on the specific circumstances involved.

It may be possible to have a second conventional root canal procedure carried out, which, if successful, could potentially save the tooth.

There may be a way to treat the issue with a surgical procedure in some cases.

Extraction is usually the last resort for a failed root canal, but sometimes is the only treatment option left.

If you have experienced a failed root canal procedure that you believe was due to the negligence of your dentist, you may be eligible to make a compensation claim. Contact us to discuss your options and for free initial legal advice, on 0808 231 5116.

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