Root Canal Retreatment

Root Canal Retreatment

In most cases, root canal treatment will rid a tooth of pain and infection.  However, in some cases, a tooth may not heal as expected and continue to have symptoms; this could arise months to years after the initial treatment has been completed.  In these cases, a root canal retreatment may be performed so that the tooth can be saved.

Possible Causes of Root Canal Failure

There are many reasons that a root canal may need to be retreated.

  • Some tooth roots may have canals that were narrow or curved, and difficult to navigate in the original treatment
  • There may be abnormal anatomy, with accessory or multiple  canals that were not detected in the first root canal
  • Fillings or crowns may sometimes “leak” and allow bacteria to re-infect a root canal
  • A new cavity may form on the tooth, causing the root canal to fail.

Once a root canal failure has been diagnosed, the possible options are root canal retreatment, endodontic surgery, or dental extraction.

Root Canal Retreatment Procedure

Root Canal Retreatment in an Upper Incisor

Root canal retreatment in an upper incisor where the previous root canal was inadequately filled, and was short of the tooth apex.

You endodontist will speak with you and help you to determine if your tooth would benefit from a root canal retreatment.

If retreatment is required, it will usually be completed under local anesthesia; however, other forms of sedation are also available.

The tooth will be opened, and any restorative or filling material will be removed.  The previous root canal willing will be taken out of the canal; in some cases this may require special instrumentation.  The tooth’s canals will then be cleaned, and the tooth will be carefully examined with magnification and illumination for any signs of fracture, additional canals,or unusual anatomy that may have cause the original treatment to fail.

Root Canal Retreament of a Lower Incisor

Root canal in a lower incisor with inadequate fill that requires root canal retreatment.

Success of retreatment depends on each individual situation.  Your endodontist will discuss different treatment options and the chances of success for each.

In some cases, should endodontic retreatment not be an option, then endodontic surgery should be considered.

Contact Us

Please contact us to discuss retreatment of your root canal.  One of our endodontists, dental specialists in root canals treatment, will be happy to provide you with a consultation.

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