With appropriate care, most teeth that have had endodontic (root canal) treatment can last as long as other natural teeth. However, a tooth that has received endodontic treatment may fail to heal or the tooth may become painful or diseased months or even years after a successful treatment. A retreatment may be needed.
Reasons a tooth may not heal properly
- Narrow, curved or calcified canals were not or could not be treated during initial root canal
- Complicated canals went undetected during initial root canal
- The crown or other restoration was not placed within the appropriate time following the root canal treatment
- The crown or other restoration did not prevent saliva contamination to the inside of the tooth.
New problems that can occur to reinfect a successfully treated tooth
- New decay can expose the root canal filling to bacteria, causing new infection in the tooth
- A loose or cracked crown or filling can expose the tooth to new infection.
Once retreatment has been determined as the treatment needed for your tooth, the doctor will reopen your tooth to gain access to the root canal filling material. The old filling material will be removed and the canals will be thoroughly cleaned and the inside of the canals examined carefully. Once the canals are cleaned, new filling material will be placed in the canals and a temporary filling will be placed in the opening of the tooth. You will be referred back to your dentist to have a new crown or restoration placed on the tooth to protect and restore to its full function.