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Root Canal Re-Treatment

With proper care, most teeth that have had endodontic (root canal) treatment can last as long as other natural teeth.  In some cases, however, a tooth that has received endodontic treatment fails to heal.  Occasionally, the tooth becomes painful and diseased months or even years after successful treatment.

If your tooth has failed to heal or has developed new problems, you have a second chance.  Another endodontic procedure may be able to save your tooth.

As occasionally happens with any dental or medical procedure, a tooth may not heal as expected after initial treatment for a variety of reasons:

  • Narrow or curved canals were not treated during the initial procedure.
  • Complicated canal anatomy went undetected in the first procedure.
  • The restoration did not prevent salivary contamination to the inside of the tooth.

In other cases, a new problem can jeopardize a tooth that was successfully treated.  For example:

  • New decay can expose the root canal filling material to bacteria, causing a new infection in the tooth.
  • A loose, cracked or broken crown or filling can expose the tooth to new infection.
  • A tooth sustains a fracture.

What does root canal re-treatment involve?

Once your treatment options are discussed, and you choose retreatment, we will reopen your tooth to gain access to the root canal filling material.  In many cases, complex restorative materials-crown, post and core material must be disassembled and removed to permit access to the root canals.

After removing the canal filling, the canals are cleaned and carefully examined  using magnification and illumination, searching for any additional canals or unusual anatomy that requires treatment.

We will then fill and seal the canals and place a temporary filling in the tooth.  If the canals are unusually narrow or blocked, we may recommend endodontic surgery. 

After treatment is completed, you may need to return to your dentist as soon as possible to have a new crown or other restoration placed on the tooth to protect and restore it to full function.

Whenever possible, it is always best to save your natural teeth.  Retreated teeth can function well for years, even for a lifetime.  You've already made an investment in saving your tooth.  The payoff for choosing retreatment could be a healthy, functioning natural tooth for many years to come.