As long as you exercise proper care of your teeth by observing correct dental health practices, even a tooth that has gone through root canal treatment can go for a long time without causing you any complications.

There are however times when a tooth that has gone through a root canal procedure fails to heal properly and becomes infected and painful. If your tooth doesn’t heal after a root canal treatment, you can go through an endodontic retreatment to remove infection, accelerate healing and save your tooth.

There are various reasons that could cause a tooth not to heal as expected. They include:

  • Some canals or parts of a canal were not treated during the original treatment procedure.
  • A crown was not placed after the original treatment.
  • The inside of the tooth gets contaminated by saliva.

There are also other new problems that might come up and jeopardize the tooth’s healing rate. These include:

  • The tooth suffering from new decay which, as a result, exposes the filling to bacteria.
  • Your dental crown breaks, cracks or becomes loose, exposing your tooth to infection.
  • A fractured tooth will also get infected.

What does retreatment involve?

Your appointment will begin with a discussion between you and your dentist about suitable treatment options. If after taking x-rays and performing necessary examinations your dentist decides that retreatment is the best method of treatment, he will drill into the root canal filling. If you have a crown, it will have to be first removed.

After the canal filling has been removed, the canals will be cleaned and the dentist will examine the tooth for additional canals that need to be treated. Infected tissue will also be removed, the canals will be filled and sealed.

To restore the full functionality of the tooth and to protect it from further infection, you’ll need to schedule another appointment for a dental crown placement.

How do you know if you are a suitable candidate for retreatment?

When you have a dental problem, it’s always good to go for a treatment option that will save your tooth. An endodontic retreatment will ensure that your teeth function well and serve you your whole lifetime.

If you got your root canal treatment many years ago, new techniques used today will allow your dentist to fix your tooth through retreatment.

How much will the procedure cost?

A retreatment is usually more complicated than the first root canal treatment because the dentist has to remove filling material in order to perform the new procedure. The dentist will also need to spend time looking for other canals that could be causing the infection. Due to these reasons, the cost will be higher than that of the initial treatment.

Other options

If you are not a suitable candidate for retreatment, you should consider going through endodontic surgery. Based on your x-rays, your dentist will recommend viable options for treating your infection.

What if retreatment and endodontic surgery are not options?

When it’s not possible to do a retreatment or to perform endodontic surgery, you will have to go through a tooth extraction and your tooth will be replaced with an implant or a partial denture.