Endodontic treatment, commonly known as a root canal, is a procedure that can be performed on a tooth two or more times. 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 these cases, the dentist may repeat the root canal treatment on the same tooth. However, it is important to consider whether subsequent root canal treatments are necessary or if endodontic surgery is a better alternative. Reinfection can occur weeks, months, or even years after the original endodontic treatment.
If the tooth was damaged during the procedure or due to a secondary infection, it may not be able to be restored with a second root canal. Additionally, if gum disease progresses enough to endanger the tooth, a root canal may not be a good idea. The success rate of endodontic treatments ranges from 86 to 98%, according to the European Journal of Dentistry. During a root canal, the endodontist removes the pulp from the infected tooth, disinfects it and reseals it.
If any of these steps are not completed properly, it can result in a failed root canal. Symptoms of a failed root canal include pain in the area surrounding the gums of the treated tooth and a bloody, pus-filled discharge. 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. If your dentist simply didn't fully clean the tooth, especially if a root was missing, you can expect a second root canal to be successful. Using advanced techniques using microscopic equipment, an endodontist can locate and fill unusually narrow or obstructed root canals. If your dentist recommends repeating an endodontic treatment on your tooth, it is important to consider all factors before making your decision.
If pain persists for several weeks after the procedure, this could indicate that the root canal failed. If this is the case, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible as infections will not go away on their own.