Why You Need Another Root Canal: Endodontic Retreatment Explained

Endodontic procedures, such as root canals, are done to treat certain types of tooth problems and prevent additional decay or damage. In some cases, the original treatment that’s done leads to improper healing or results in new tooth problems. When this happens, your endodontist might recommend endodontic retreatment. Knowing more about this type of treatment can help you understand why it might be needed and what to expect from this procedure.

Reasons for Endodontic Retreatment

Endodontic procedures are meant to help eliminate tooth decay and treat damage in order to reduce the risk of infection or other problems. While these procedures are generally successful, some end up being unsuccessful for different reasons. This can lead to improper healing or ongoing pain and discomfort that lasts for several months or even years. When a treated tooth does not heal properly, this might be due to any of the following:

  • Complex canal problems that were not found when the original treatment was done
  • Narrow canal or curved canal that was not included in the original treatment
  • Contamination from saliva that entered the treated tooth
  • Dental restoration or crown was not done soon enough after the original endodontic treatment

In some cases, a new problem might occur that affects the original endodontic treatment. For example, new decay might develop in the treated tooth and lead to an infection. This can happen if the filling material in the root canal is exposed, allowing bacteria to enter. Crowns and fillings that become loose or cracked might also result in infection since these leave the inner part of the tooth exposed.


What to Expect from Endodontic Retreatment

When you need to have endodontic retreatment done, the process is somewhat similar to your original root canal or endodontic procedure. This starts with your endodontist reopening the treated tooth in order to get to the root canal filling. Your endodontist will then take the filling material out of this tooth and closely check it for signs of damage, decay, or other canals that need to be treated.

If the treated tooth has an infection, your endodontist will take the infected tissue out. Doing this helps prevent the infection from becoming worse. In serious cases, these infections can spread to other areas and require emergency care when they’re left untreated. After removing the infected tissue, your endodontist will then thoroughly clean the affected canal or canals and shape them. Once this is done, your endodontist will put new filling material in the canals. After the filling material is placed in the affected canals, your endodontist will cover the opening with a temporary filling.

If your endodontist has difficulty with this procedure, such as if you have very narrow canals or a blockage, endodontic surgery might be recommended. This procedure makes it possible for your endodontist to fully treat and seal the ends of the affected root.


After Endodontic Retreatment

As soon as the treated tooth heals, you’ll have a dental crown or another type of dental restoration put on it. This helps protect the treated tooth from bacteria, decay, and damage. Keep in mind that you’ll need to see your endodontist promptly once the tooth heals to have the dental restoration or crown placed on it. Waiting too long can lead to unsuccessful retreatment. When you have a crown or restoration placed, this helps restore the treated tooth’s function, so that you can chew and speak clearly.

After having this procedure done, it’s important to follow all of your endodontist’s instructions on how to care for the treated area. This helps prevent infections or other complications from occurring. For example, you might be told to avoid eating certain foods until your tooth heals. You might have slight discomfort after endodontic retreatment, but this should go away within a week or two.

If you need help with a tooth problem, please contact us to schedule an appointment with our endodontist, Dr. Ernest Rillman. Our office provides endodontic retreatment, root canals, and other services for patients in and around the Largo, FL area.