Can Root Canal Treatment Be Repeated?

Endodontic treatment, commonly known as root canal treatment, is a procedure that can be repeated two or more times on a single tooth. While teeth that have undergone an endodontic procedure can last a lifetime, some may not heal properly due to salivary contamination and other reasons. In such cases, a dentist may recommend a repeat of the root canal treatment. However, the complications and costs of a repeat procedure should be weighed against the potential benefits of preserving your natural tooth. It is possible for a person to go through two or more root canals for the same tooth due to various causes, one of which is that the tooth has two roots.

It can be a little difficult for the dentist to identify all the canals in a tooth, since a tooth may have very small canals or be calcified. With proper care, even teeth that have undergone endodontic treatment can last a lifetime. If you feel pain or discomfort in a previously treated tooth, talk to an endodontist about the possibility of re-treating it. Root canals are designed to save severely damaged or infected teeth. With proper care, a tooth that has been treated with a root canal can last a lifetime.

However, while this treatment is more than 95% successful, there is a remote chance that your dentist will recommend that you have your treatment done again. Endodontic retreatment is a procedure in which an endodontist removes the original fillings from the root canal and then cleans and disinfects the inside of the tooth. The dentist then fills and re-seals the canals. The goal is to save the natural tooth, as with any other root canal. Advances in technology are constantly changing the way root canal treatment is performed, so your endodontist can use new techniques that weren't available when your first procedure was performed. The procedure is likely to be more complex than your first endodontic treatment, as restorative and filling material may need to be removed to perform the new procedure.

Reasons to have more than one root canal on the same tooth include inadequate healing after the first procedure or difficulty identifying all of the canals in a tooth due to its small size or calcification. According to the American Association of Endodontists (AAE), an endodontist typically performs 25 root canals per week, while a general dentist usually performs only two. If, even after an endodontic procedure, you feel sensitive to cold or heat, feel sharp pain in your tooth when you chew food, or have inflamed gums, you should contact your dentist immediately and follow their recommendations. In cases where the network and anatomy of the root canal are difficult, the experience of an endodontist may be required. A successful endodontic treatment saves the natural tooth and extends its life to match other healthy teeth. Using advanced techniques using microscopic equipment, an endodontist can locate and fill unusually narrow or obstructed root canals. After removing the filling from the canal, they can clean them and carefully examine the inside of the tooth using a magnifying glass and lighting, looking for any additional channels or unusual anatomy that requires treatment. If you're not comfortable with your dentist's skill level, you can seek a second opinion from a dentist who is an expert in root canal treatment.

When a root canal is not successful, symptoms may return a few months to a few years later. With proper care, you'll preserve teeth that have undergone endodontic treatment for a lifetime. However, those teeth may heal inadequately, hurt, or become sick months or even years after treatment. Keep in mind that reinfection can occur weeks, months, or even years after the original endodontic treatment.