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 or diseased months or even years after successful treatment.
Why do I need retreatment?
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.
Complicated canal anatomy.
The placement of the crown or 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.
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 a new infection. A tooth sustains a fracture. Retreatment is performed in two visits and involves the following:
At the retreatment appointment your doctor will administer local anesthetic to numb the tooth. After the tooth is numb, the doctor 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 cleaning the canals, the doctor will fill and seal the canals and place a temporary filling in the tooth. Post space may also be prepared at this time.
A new crown is mandatory.