Root Canal Retreatment

With the appropriate care, your teeth that have had endodontic treatment will last as long as other natural teeth. Yet, a tooth that has received treatment may fail to heal or pain may continue to exist. Sometimes, the pain may occur months or years after treatment. If so, Endodontic Retreatment may be needed.

Improper healing may be caused by:

  • Curved or narrow canals were not treated during the initial treatment.
  • Complicated canals went undetected during the initial treatment.
  • The crown or restoration was not placed within the appropriate amount of time following the procedure.
  • The crown or restoration did not prevent saliva from contaminating the inside of the tooth.
  • New decay can expose a root canal filling material, causing infection.
  • A cracked or loose filling or crown can expose the tooth to new infection.

Once retreatment has been selected as a solution to your problem, the doctors will reopen your tooth to gain access to the root canal filling material. This restorative material will be removed to enable access to the root canal. The doctors will now clean your canals and carefully examine the inside of the problematic tooth. Once cleaned, the doctors will fill and seal the canals and place a temporary filling in the tooth.

At this point, you will need to return to your dentist as soon as possible in order to have a new crown or restoration placed on the tooth to restore full functionality.

New dental trauma, a new cavity, a broken filling or a crack in the tooth can allow contaminated saliva to leak into the tooth and cause a new infection inside your tooth.  In addition, if you did not have a final restoration (usually a crown) placed soon after your previous root canal treatment the tooth may also be more prone to reinfection.  This infection can contaminate the prior root canal filling inside your tooth.  In some cases, if an infected tooth is not healing Dr. Tigrett  may discover an additional canal or a very narrow or curved canals that could not be treated during your initial procedure.  These complex conditions may require the skills and technology of an endodontist.

We recommend that you take a combination of an anti-inflammatory, such as ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) along with acetaminophen (Tylenol) following your procedure.  If you cannot take ibuprofen, than acetaminophen (Tylenol) alone would be the next best thing. In certain instances, Dr. Tigrett will prescribe you an antibiotic, and/or possibly an additional medication for pain.  All instructions regarding medication will be thoroughly reviewed with you before you leave, and you will also be given written instructions.

No two teeth are the same.  Before we even start treatment we will review the treatment plan for your tooth along with follow up care instructions.  In most cases we recommend that you call your restorative dentist as soon as possible to make your follow-up appointment.  It is recommended that you have your permanent restoration placed 2-3 weeks after your root canal treatment.  This gives your tooth time to heal, but not longer than one month after the procedure.  This step is imperative for the long-term prognosis of your tooth.  Without a final restoration to protect the tooth it is at risk for fracture or re-infection.