With proper care, teeth that have had root canal treatment can last a lifetime. But sometimes, a root canal treated tooth can get reinfected. If this happens to you, know that you have options. An additional procedure called endodontic retreatment may be able to resolve the infection and save your tooth. If you have pain or discomfort in a previously root canal treated tooth, talk to an endodontist about retreatment.
What happens during a retreatment?
First, the endodontist will discuss your treatment options. If you and 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 root canal filling materials, the endodontist will 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 other end 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 in order to protect the tooth and restore it to its full function.