Should I get an implant after a failed root canal?

I had a root canal done on a big back molar last year. The dentist did a bad job, according to my new dentist (I moved house and changed dentists) and from the X-ray, she has left half a dental file inside the tooth. Apparently it snapped off. Anyway, I'm not pleased about that, to say the least, and I have also been experiencing pain as well as occasional small white abscesses on my gum where the root canaled tooth is.

I am only 20 and it upsets me that I have a really compromised back molar tooth. Having to have a root canal prompted me to take extra good care of my teeth and all my other teeth are fine. But it looks like I'm going to have to get this failed root canal tooth pulled. Even though my back molar isn't visible to anyone (I have a small mouth and don't have a wide smile so you can't see my back teeth when I'm smiling or laughing) I'd feel really unhappy about having a missing tooth there, especially since I'm so young. But implants are really expensive and I'm worried about spending that much money on one tooth. On the other hand, I want my teeth to be in good condition for the rest of my life.

What should I do?

If I had the tooth out and then waited a couple of years to save enough money to pay upfront for an implant, would I lose bone in my jaw and then need a bone graft for an implant? Should I have the implant done straightaway? I'm really worried about this tooth. :S


It's a tooth on my lower jaw, by the way (the second molar, in a diagram, the one straight before my wisdom tooth).

7 Answers

  • 7 years ago
    Best Answer

    A re-do of the failed root canal might be throwing good money after bad, especially if the abscess is still present (or another is newly formed). At your age if you decide to go with an implant you will likely not need a bone graft but from a time standpoint it might be a coin flip as to how long you can wait. If I were you I would go for the implant now and work out some sort of financing plan if I could and couple that with an attempt at negotiating a better price for the work. Although I'm a great deal older than you, a little over three years ago I lost the same tooth (No. 2) on the lower right side as the result of the previously root canaled tooth becoming brittle over time and eventually breaking into two pieces vertically. I needed a bone graft, which was not that expensive, and it set me back several months. It was my first and so far only implant and I can say without reservation it was probably the best dental decision I have made up to this point and the fit is perfect. Your molars are extremely important to the digestive process. You only have four No. 2 molars which means if you lose one of them you automatically lose the function of the molar above/below it. That translates to a 50% loss of chewing/grinding capacity of those teeth. That's a lot. Forget about looks. Get the implant.

  • Hi,

    A root canal in a second molar is a difficult procedure that I refer to the specialist called "endodontist".

    Taking the molar out and replacing it with an implant is an option, but I would first go to an endodontist to see if he can save the molar by doing a retreatment. They evaluate the tooth to see if there is enough tooth still there that you can salvage and if there is then they remove all the material inside (broken file, sealer, etc...) and do the root canal correctly, then you can go to your new dentist and have the molar restored with a filling and maybe a crown.

    In my experience, if you wait a couple of years before you place an implant, you will loose bone and your teeth (the wisdom tooth) will drift forward closing some of the space left by the extracted molar. This affects your bite and the size of the replacement tooth.

    You can also graft the extraction socket and it will reduce the amount of bone lost after the extraction heals. Placing an implant at the same time the second molar is removed is tricky since the tooth leaves two holes in the bone and the dentist has to place the implant between them, and there may not be enough bone to do this.

    I would consider a second opinion by the endodontist before extracting the tooth.

    Good luck and hope this helps.

    Carlos Boudet, DDS

    West Palm Beach Dentist

  • 3 years ago

    Failed Root Canal

  • 7 years ago

    It would be a good idea to get the implant when you can – the sooner the better. Reason being is that teeth need something to occlude with to stay in place. If your lower 2nd molar is gone the upper 2nd molar will start dropping down and that creates a whole other set of issues. You are young and have a long life ahead of you. In the long run, getting the implant will save you a lifetime of dental issues. Without teeth being in their proper place, they tend to drop down (as stated earlier), shift places, tip, tilt and create spaces between teeth that ordinarily wouldn't be there. Food will start to pack in the newly formed spaces and then cavities will start to form in between those teeth. Additionally, when the tooth is extracted the bone graft should be done at that time so the jaw bone can heal properly and will be ready for the implant when you are ready to do it.

    Hope this helps! I have more info about tooth implants on my site,

    Source(s): I'm a Houston dentist with a 25-year practice,
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  • ?
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    If you get the tooth extracted there will be no real need to do a root canal later. Basically a root canal is when they drill down and remove the nerve ending of the tooth. If there's no tooth, they won't need to do that. You could however still get the implants later if it's extracted now. If you do a root canal now- you could have the tooth extracted later and have an implant put in... but i doubt you would need to. After they do the root canal they will cap the tooth and it will look great (they have white caps now so they look normal....) Hope that helps.

  • mellon
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    Root Canal Failure

  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    Most of the dentists recommend their patient to go for dental implants which can be the ideal and long-lasting solution for gum disease and root canal failure. You can consult with a dentist of Morgan & Rogers Dental Institute to know whether you can go for dental implant after a failed root canal or not.

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