Most endodontically treated teeth last as long as other natural teeth. In a few cases, a tooth that has undergone endodontic treatment does not heal or the pain continues. Occasionally, the tooth may become painful or diseased months or even years after successful treatment. Sometimes, there are no symptoms, but evidence of a chronic infection, often seen in an x-ray picture as a small black area around the end of an affected root would indicate the need for a retreatment. New problems such as new decay or problems with the crown, can jeopardize a tooth that initially had successful endodontic or root canal treatment. Often when this occurs, redoing the endodontic procedure can save the tooth. Retreatment tends to be more complicated and technically challenging than initial treatment and is generally carried out by endodontists (root canal specialists) like Dr. Lee, dentists who have taken specialty training in the diagnosis and treatment of root canal problems.
During a Retreatment the tooth will need to be reopened. A small hole will be made into the biting or chewing surface of the tooth to gain access to the root canal. In many cases, complex restorative materials — crown, post and core material — must be disassembled and removed to permit access to the root canals. The previous root canal filling materials are removed and the canals cleaned and carefully examined through an operating microscope. The increased magnification and illumination helps the endodontist to detect any additional canals or unusual canal anatomy which would require treatment.
After being cleaned, disinfected and shaped, the canals will be sealed and new temporary filling will be placed.
Once the tooth heals, a new crown or other restoration is placed on the tooth to protect it.