Is Redoing a Root Canal Painful? An Expert's Perspective

Root canal retreatment is a procedure that is virtually painless and much more comfortable than extracting a tooth. It restores the integrity of the tooth and may prevent an extraction, with long-lasting results. The process of getting your root canal back is similar to the first procedure, but with new techniques, technologies, and anesthetic medications that make it more effective and comfortable. Once your mouth is numb, the dentist will remove the dental crown (if needed) and reopen the tooth to remove the canal filling and any tissue that hasn't been treated before or that has recently been infected.

With proper care, even teeth that have undergone endodontic treatment can last a lifetime. However, sometimes a tooth that has been treated doesn't heal properly and can become sore or sick months or even years after treatment. If this happens, an additional procedure can aid healing and save your tooth. Endodontic retreatment begins with the administration of anesthesia to ensure that the procedure does not cause pain.

If there is a crown, it can be removed or a small hole made to access the pulp and root canals. The original root canal filling is then removed and the canals are thoroughly cleaned and rinsed. The roots are sealed to prevent subsequent bacterial invasion and the access hole is filled with a permanent filling. In some cases, a new crown is recommended. Endodontic retreatment is no more painful than the original endodontic procedure.

In both cases, the affected area is numbed beforehand so that you don't feel anything during the procedure. There may be discomfort afterwards, but this is to be expected. The European Journal of Dentistry found that the overall success rate of endodontics and other endodontic treatments ranges from 86 to 98%. A person who has undergone endodontic treatment will need to visit the dentist again to have their temporary filling removed. New technologies and anesthetics help ensure that the endodontic procedure is as comfortable as possible.

In many cases, complex restorative materials (crown, post and core) must be dismantled and removed to allow access to the root canals. The goal of endodontic retreatment is to save the natural tooth, as with any other root canal. Endodontists receive two or more additional years of training after dental school to specialize in treating dental pain and root canals. To avoid needing endodontic treatment, anyone who has a toothache should see a dentist immediately to prevent the infection from worsening, forming an abscess, or spreading throughout the tooth's root system. Davis and Schwartz restore teeth immediately after completing root canal treatment, so contamination is not a problem for the teeth they treat. Keep in mind that reinfection can occur weeks, months, or even years after the original endodontic treatment.

If you and your endodontist choose a new treatment, the endodontist will reopen the tooth to access the root canal filling material. Endodontics treats the tooth pulp, which contains the tooth's blood and nerve supply, when it becomes infected due to decay or injury.