With pertinent care, most teeth that have had endodontic treatment (root canal) can last as long as other natural teeth. However, in some cases, a tooth that has been treated may fail to heal. Sometimes the tooth may become painful after months or years of being treated. If that is the case, an endodontic re-treatment may be indicated.
The lack of expected healing may be caused by:
- Narrow or curved canals were not treated during the previous treatment.
- Complicated canal anatomy went undetected during the initial procedure.
- The placement of crown or restoration was not completed shortly after the root canal treatment.
- Lack of seal of the crown or restorations which allows the leakage of saliva and bacteria inside the tooth.
Some other cases where the re-treatment is necessary may be caused by new problems on a tooth that was successfully treated:
- New decay can expose the root canal filling material, causing a new infection.
- A loose or broken crown or restoration can expose the tooth to new infection.
During the re-treatment procedure the endodontist will reopen the tooth to be able to access the root canal filling material and remove it, in order to clean the canals and carefully examine the inside of the tooth. Once the canals have been thoroughly cleaned, the endodontist will seal them place a temporary filling in the tooth, in order to let you go back to your dentist who will place a new crown or restoration to protect your tooth from future leakage or fracture.