A second chance to save your tooth
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 or the pain continues. Occasionally, the tooth becomes painful or 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.
Why do I need another endodontic procedure?
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 crown or other restoration was not placed soon enough after the procedure
- The restoration did not prevent saliva from contaminating 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
What will happen during retreatment?
First, the endodontist will discuss your treatment options. If you and your family dentist choose retreatment, the endodontist 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 endodontist can clean the canals and carefully examine the inside of your tooth, searching for any additional canals or unusual anatomy that requires treatment.
After cleaning the canal(s), the endodontist will fill and seal the canal(s) and place a temporary filling in the tooth. Post space may also be prepared at this time.
After the final visit with your endodontist, you will 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.