Endodontic treatment is designed to last a lifetime, but occasionally a tooth may become reinfected and require a second root canal or endodontic retreatment. This procedure involves removing the original fillings from the root canal, cleaning and disinfecting the inside of the tooth, and then re-sealing the canals. The goal is to save the natural tooth, as with any other root canal. The most common option for failed root canals is retreatment.
This involves removing the original filling and disinfecting the channel, then re-sealing it to help prevent further infections and bacteria from entering. Pain in a previously endodontized tooth or an abscess in the gums are signs that a removal may be necessary. The success of any endodontic treatment depends on eliminating harmful bacteria from the root canal system and sealing it to prevent more bacteria from entering. Placing a crown immediately after the endodontic procedure can help the root canal last longer.
In some cases, reinfection occurs months or years after a new injury or damage to the tooth. This is because there may be more than one root canal in a single tooth, which can be difficult for dentists to identify due to small canals or calcification. Endodontists receive additional training after dental school to specialize in treating dental pain and root canals. To treat a tooth that hasn't healed properly or has become infected again after an endodontic procedure, a new treatment can be performed to ensure that the tooth is completely clean of decay and can function properly.
Reinfection can occur weeks, months, or even years after the original endodontic treatment. However, with proper care and maintenance, a root canal has a very high success rate and can last a lifetime.