While the vast majority of root canal treatments that dentists perform are successful, a small percentage are not. In most cases, an unsuccessful root canal is caused by the affected person making one or both of these two mistakes.
Not treating the tooth with extra care whilst it has a temporary filling
After a dentist has cleaned the root canals of a tooth, they will put a filling over them. This is a short-term measure that is only designed to be employed for a week or two until the crown for the tooth is created and is ready to be inserted. This is the point during which the tooth is at its most fragile, as its tissues are still healing and the temporary filling is not as secure as a permanent one would be.
During this period, some dental patients do not treat their cleaned-out tooth with the extra care that it requires. For example, they may ignore their dentist's advice and continue to chew their foods on the side of their mouth where their damaged tooth is located, or they might engage in physical activities that put them at risk of facial injuries (like martial arts). Both of these mistakes can result in the filling becoming dislodged and bacteria accessing the vulnerable, healing tissues, which can then lead to a second infection from which the tooth might not recover. This may then put the dentist in a position where they have to extract the patient's tooth.
Not abstaining from smoking whilst their gum tissue is healing
The other common cause of root canal failure is a patient choosing not to abstain from smoking for a few weeks after they've undergone this treatment. Wounded gum and tooth tissues need to have a steady and sufficient supply of blood passing through their vessels, as it is the body's blood that delivers oxygen and many critical, wound-healing nutrients, like amino acids and glucose, to these tissues.
However, nicotine impedes blood flow, which can lead to wounded areas of the body not healing quickly. The extension of the healing period may increase the chance of an infection occurring in the inflamed oral tissues. Even with the provision of a longer course of antibiotics and perhaps a second cleaning of the already-emptied pulp chambers, there is no guarantee that the dentist could save the person's tooth, particularly if the individual in question is so addicted to smoking that they continue to engage in this habit throughout these extra treatments.
To learn more about root canals, contact a dentist.