With appropriate care, most teeth that have had endodontic (root canal) treatment can last as long as other natural teeth. However, a tooth that has received endodontic treatment may fail to heal or the tooth may become painful or diseased months or even years after a successful treatment. A retreatment may be needed.


A tooth may not heal as expected after initial treatment for a variety of reasons:

  • Curved or narrow canals were not treated during the initial treatment.

  • Complicated canals went undetected during the initial treatment.

  • The crown or restoration was not placed within the appropriate amount of time following the procedure.

  • In some cases, a new problem can jeopardize a tooth that was successfully treated, such as new decay, a loose, cracked or broken crown or filling, or tooth fracture.

Endodontic retreatment is performed by gaining access to the root canal filling material. The old root canal filling material is removed and the root canal spaces are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. After the canals are cleaned, new filling material will be placed in the canals and a temporary filling will be placed in the opening of the tooth. You will be referred back to your dentist to have a new crown or restoration placed on the tooth to protect and restore to its full function.