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If you’ve had root canal therapy from a qualified endodontist, the results will usually last a lifetime. Sometimes, however, it’s possible that your teeth might not heal properly. They can become painful or develop new problems, even several years after the treatment has occurred.
If this happens to you, it’s necessary to have an endodontic retreatment to attempt to save the tooth. This typically involves an additional procedure to help diminish your pain and promote appropriate healing. If you begin experiencing any symptoms, you’ll want to visit your endodontist immediately to get treated as soon as possible and avoid further complications.
There are a number of reasons a retreatment might be necessary. It’s possible the initial procedure did not completely treat narrow or curved root canals in your case. If you have a particularly complicated root canal anatomy, that can go undetected with the first procedure.
Additionally, if you delayed getting the crown or other restoration following the root canal, that could cause an additional problem that needs treatment. It’s also possible that the crown didn’t prevent contamination inside the root canal system like it was supposed to.
Of course, it’s also possible that a new problem can jeopardize your tooth even though it was successfully treated the first time. This might involve new decay that exposes the root canal filling material and causes a new infection. Additionally, trauma resulting in a cracked or broken crown can expose the tooth to a possible new infection.
During a retreatment, your endodontist will reopen the affected tooth and remove the root canal filling materials placed there in the first procedure. They will then carefully reexamine the tooth to look for other canals or new infections.
They will remove any infection and reshape the canals to place new filling materials. They will then seal the opening with a temporary filling until they are sure the problem has been resolved. Once the tooth heals, it is then time to get a new crown to protect your tooth.
All of this will likely involve more than one visit, but if it can save your natural tooth, it will be well worth the effort. The key to a successful endodontic treatment is to follow all directions from your endodontist carefully and report any problems immediately.