Teeth that have had root canal treatment can and do last a lifetime. However, on occasion, the tooth that has been treated fails to heal properly or becomes tender or sensitive months or years after it was treated. This sensitivity can be addressed and resolved without losing the tooth.
If your tooth failed to heal or has developed new problems, you have a second chance. If you are having discomfort with a previously treated tooth we can perform an additional procedure, called Nonsurgical Root Canal Retreatment. This procedure will be able to promote healing and save the tooth.
Some common reasons for failure to heal after the original root canal treatment include complex root canal anatomy. Canals are often very small and curved necessitating the use of surgical microscopes to find and instrument them properly. Such complex canal anatomy is perhaps the most frequent cause for retreatment, but also carries the best prognosis for healing as all the canals are found, navigated and instrumented. Another common reason for retreatment is failure to place a permanent restoration in a timely manner. Such restoration as a crown, serves to prevent salivary contamination of the canals with time. In either scenario, there is room for improvement and with root canal retreatment the tooth will heal.
Furthermore, there are cases, where a treated tooth has been asymptomatic for years and suddenly becomes tender. That may happen if the filling cracked and allowed saliva access back into the canals, reinfecting them. While in other cases recurrent decay at crown or filling margins has progressed sufficiently to affect the root canal system. Root canal retreatment will decontaminate the canals once more, allowing the tooth to heal.
During Root Canal Retreatment, we will open the tooth and perform a thorough evaluation for any missed canals, aberrant canal anatomy, or recurrent decay. Missed canals are navigated and cleaned. We then remove the filling from all the other canals replacing it with new root canal filling material. The opening is then restored with a temporary filling and once the tooth heals, it can receive a new permanent restoration.