Endodontic Retreatment gives us a second opportunity to potentially save your tooth. If cared for properly, most teeth that have had a root canal treatment can last as long as your other natural teeth.
That said, in some cases, a tooth that has received endodontic treatment fails to heal as anticipated or the pain persists. Occasionally, the tooth may become painful or diseased months or even years after successful treatment.
If you have had a root canal treatment that has not successfully resolved your symptoms, you have another chance to save your tooth. An endodontic retreatment may be able to reduce pain and discomfort, encourage healing, and save your tooth.
Why Consider An Endodontic Retreatment
Pain and discomfort can occur if the interior of your tooth becomes infected or inflamed following an initial endodontic treatment. This can be due to new decay in the tooth, complicated canal anatomy, or a range of other factors.
Root canal retreatment can help to alleviate painful symptoms, address deficiencies, eliminate infections and repair defects, helping to restore the natural function of your tooth.
Patients who opt for root canal retreatment typically experience little pain or discomfort, and often enjoy the use of a restored tooth for many years. With proper care, most teeth that have had root canal retreatment can last a lifetime.
Root Canal Retreatment FAQs
If you are considering endodontic retreatment to restore the function of your painful tooth, you may have questions. Read through the answers below to our most frequently asked questions, to learn more.
- What happens during endodontic retreatment?
Your endodontic specialist will discuss appropriate treatment options with you. If it's decided that retreatment is the ideal option, the tooth will be reopened and the endodontist will remove the filling materials that had been placed in the root canals during the first procedure.
Your tooth will be examined carefully for any new infections or additional canals. Any infections are removed, and the canals are cleaned and shaped. After new filling materials are placed, the endodontist will seal the opening with a temporary filling.
It's important to note that the healing of the tooth may require more than one visit. If the canals are unusually blocked or narrow, endodontic surgery may be recommended. The procedure requires the endodontist to make an incision so the other end of the root can be sealed.
After the tooth has healed, your endodontist will place a new crown or other restoration to protect the tooth and restore its complete function.
- Why might I need endodontic retreatment?
As with any dental or medical procedure, there's a chance your tooth may not heal properly after initial treatment for a number of reasons, including:
- The inside of the tooth became contaminated by saliva.
- Placement of a crown, filling or other restoration was delayed after endodontic treatment.
- Narrow or curved canals were not detected or treated during the first procedure.
- Complicated canal anatomy was not detected prior to the first procedure.
You may also experience new problems with a tooth that was successfully treated in the past. These issues can include:
- The tooth may become infected due to new decay, which can leave the root canal filling susceptible to bacteria.
- A fractured tooth.
- A broken, loose or cracked filling or crown can leave the tooth vulnerable to infection.
- What are my other treatment options?
Before your tooth was originally treated with a root canal, your dentist likely explained that the only other treatment option was to remove the tooth. Now that you are experiencing pain in the tooth that was treated, your retreatment or endodontic surgery may be recommended.
During surgery (also known as an apicoectomy), the endodontist makes an incision at the tip of the tooth's root to surgically remove any infections.
Other than root canal retreatment or surgery, the only alternative is tooth extraction.
- What should I expect during recovery from root canal retreatment?
Every patient is unique and individual circumstances will differ, but you will receive personalized post-operative instructions to follow.
You may use over-the-counter pain medication to relieve any discomfort due to tissue inflammation (which should be minimal). If you notice intense pain or pus following endodontic retreatment, contact your endodontist right away.
If your recovery progresses well, you'll see your endodontist again within a week to check on your recovery. It's critical to schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible so a permanent restoration such as a crown or filling can be placed.
Because we continue to see advances in the field of endodontic treatment regularly, your endodontist may be able to use new techniques that weren't available when you had your original root canal treatment.