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What happens if my root canal fails?

Root canal treatments can last a lifetime with proper care and healing after the procedure. However, if your root canal fails there are options to help relieve any pain or discomfort you may be experiencing. 

Can you retreat a failed root canal?

Yes, if you develop new issues or there was a problem with your treatment. 

Although it is always the goal of an endodontist to save your natural tooth, if your previous root canal fails, schedule a consultation with an endodontist to see what your options are for retreatment.

Why would I need another treatment?

There are several reasons why your endodontic treatment might have not healed correctly. Depending on the anatomy of the canals of your teeth,  more narrow or curved canals might not have been fully treated during your first procedure. 

Another reason for a root canal failure can be because the tooth did not receive a permanent restoration in a timely manner.  Usually, the endodontist finishes a root canal by placing a temporary restoration during the healing process and refers back to the general dentist for the permanent one.  If a temporary restoration is in place too long, it can invite bacteria that can reinfect the canals.  

You also might experience new decay that causes the problem all over again. A new infection could be introduced to your tooth if a cracked crown or filling re-exposed the root or if the tooth fractures.

Are there other options if a root canal retreatment isn’t an option?

If you are not a good candidate for endodontic retreatment, other options are available.  

An alternative to retreatment would be endodontic surgery, which may allow your endodontist to find the full extent of the problem. Endodontic surgeries can remove the decay in difficult areas or infected tissue at the base of the root.

Although the last resort would be to extract the tooth, this is sometimes the only option when other treatments have been exhausted or the tooth root has been determined to have fractured.

If you previously had a root canal that is sensitive and may need retreatment, make an appointment today for a consultation to learn the options available to you.

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