Root canals, while a relatively straightforward procedure, can sometimes turn complicated after the fact. An injury to a newly filled tooth, new decay, or a sealant breach can lead to a relapse of infection and returned pain. If this happens, you’ll get a retreatment of the root canal, removing the new infection and resealing the tooth.

Sometimes a root canal will not be enough to fix an issue with an infected tooth. While the root canal itself may have been successful in removing infected tissue, a missed root, a crack in the tooth, new decay, and a breakdown of the initial sealants can lead to re-infection which requires retreatment.

There is a lot to clear out of the small space that is the pulp chamber. It’s possible that a root may go unseen during the removal process and it gets left alone. Once the tooth is filled, this remaining root continues to cause issues. These roots may have been curved or too narrow to notice and they can definitely be a pain. Other times an unseen crack in the tooth or the filling breaking down let in bacteria and they re-infect the tooth. While performing a root canal, if any saliva gets into the operation site, that can spread new bacteria that causes issues down the line as well.

Fortunately, in these cases you can usually get a retreatment. A retreatment works the same way as a regular root canal, except that the endodontist removes the filling material before examining the inside of the tooth again. During this second exam, we look for canals that may have been missed or a new infection. Once found, it is removed, refilled, and resealed. After the tooth heals, a new crown will be placed to protect the inside.