With proper care, most teeth that have had endodontic ( root canal) treatment can lat 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 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 placement of the crown of other restoration was delayed following the endodontic treatment.

• 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 will happen during retreatment?

First, the endodontist will discuss your treatment options. If your endodontist 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 using magnification and illumination, searching for any additional canals or unusual anatomy that requires treatment.


After cleaning the canals, the endodontist will fill and seal the canals and place a temporary filling in the tooth. If the canals are unusually narrow or blocked, your endodontist may recommend endodontic surgery. This surgery involves making an incision to allow the tip of the root to be sealed.


After your endodontist completes retreatment, 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.


Is the retreatment the best choice for me?

Whenever possible, it is the best to save your natural tooth. Retreated teeth can function well for years, even for a lifetime.

Advances in technology are constantly changing the way root canal treatment is performed, so your endodontist may use new techniques that were not available when you had your problem with retreatment.

As with any dental or medical procedure, there are no guarantees. Your endodontist will discuss your options and the chances of success before beginning retreatment.

The procedure will probably be more complex than your fist root canal treatment, because your restoration and filling material may need to be removed to accomplish the new procedure. In addition, your endodontist may be able to resolve your problem with retreatment.