With proper care and dental hygiene, your teeth that have had endodontic treatment may last a lifetime. However, occasionally a tooth that has received treatment may fail to heal or pain may continue to exist. Every root canal case is different and unique. Your dentist will take the time to discuss their findings with you and provide you with other options. In some instances, your dentist may recommend a root canal retreatment, which is almost identical to the original root canal procedure. Whenever possible, it is always best to save your natural tooth.

Improper healing is due to:

  • Complicated canal anatomy went undetected during initial treatment
  • Curved or narrow canals that were not treated during initial treatment
  • Infection from new decay that is exposed to the root canal
  • Cracked or loose filling/crown can expose the tooth to infection
  • Restoration did not prevent salivary contamination to the inside of the tooth
  • Delayed replacement crown or other restoration

If your dentist recommends a root canal retreatment, a local anesthetic will be administered and he or she will reopen your tooth to gain access to the canal. The filling material is removed and your dentist will clean the root canals and examine the inside of your tooth, searching for any additional canals or unusual anatomy that requires treatment. Once all bacteria and residual pulp tissue is removed, the tooth is then resealed and a temporary crown or filling is applied. At a later date, a permanent crown will be placed.

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