Diagram with five states of root canal treatment

Repeat Root Canal Failed But My Dentist Still Ordered a Crown

My dentist did a repeat root canal on a bottom left molar. After the root canal, an infection lingered for almost two months. An oral surgeon helped me get rid of the infection and said that my dentist should wait before putting a crown on. The tooth hurts again, so I think the infection returned, but my dentist already had the crown made without my permission.

I prefer an extraction and implant because the tooth is problematic and has interfered with my routine so much. Besides, if the tooth still hurts after a repeat root canal, I think putting a crown on it is a waste of money. Why would my dentist order a crown for a tooth that won’t heal? – Aspen from Illinois


You are correct. Your dentist should not have ordered the crown without your permission and without ensuring that your tooth healed. And you can refuse the crown because the tooth has not recovered.

When Should You Get a Crown on a Root Canal Tooth?

You can feel comfortable getting a crown on a root canal tooth when your dentist is sure that the treatment is successful. Preparing the tooth for a crown will further aggravate the tooth. And covering the tooth with a crown wastes your time and money.

Sometimes, root canal treatment can fail despite a dentist’s best efforts. But your dentist’s judgment was flawed in ordering a crown for a tooth that did not heal. Your dentist took a risk and is responsible for it. We recommend asking for a refund for lab fees or other fees that you paid toward the crown.

Should You Try to Save Your Tooth?

If your tooth is savable, perhaps a root canal specialist (endodontist) can save it. But as the number of root canal treatments increases, the likelihood of saving the tooth decreases. If you prefer an extraction, you can schedule an appointment for a second opinion from a cosmetic and implant dentist.

Diagram with five states of root canal treatment
Repeat root canal failure may require an extraction and dental implant

Burba Dental Partners of Salem, Massachusetts, sponsors this post. Read about what our dentists do to offer some of the best dental care in the Boston area.