Endodontic Retreatment

With the appropriate care and prevention of decay and periodontal disease, endodontic treatment will help your teeth last as long as other natural teeth. Occasionally, a tooth that has undergone endodontic treatment fails to heal, or pain continues despite therapy.  Such a tooth may initially respond to root canal therapy, but becomes painful or diseased months or years later. When this situation exists, Dr. Odum or Dr. O'Connor will study the tooth with a 3-D CBCT image, and may need to perform Non-Surgical Endodontic Retreatment.

Improper healing may be caused by:

  • Curved or narrow canals that were not treated during the initial treatment.
  • Complicated canals that went undetected during the initial treatment.
  • The crown or restoration that was not placed in a timely manner following the procedure.
  • The crown or restoration that did not prevent saliva from recontaminating the canals.
  • New decay can expose a root canal filling material, causing infection.
  • A cracked or loose filling or crown can expose the tooth to new infection.
  • A crown or root fracture can allow new infection to recontaminate the canals.

Once Non-Surgical Endodontic Retreatment has been selected as a solution to your problem, the doctors will reopen your tooth to gain access to the root canal filling material. Often the most time consuming step, fillings, pins, posts, core materials and sometimes crowns are disassembled to enable access to the root canal system. The canals are then microscopically examined for deficiencies that may be corrected, or in the instance of an internal fracture, may not be correctable.  Once we are confident with a favorable prognosis, the canals are then re-cleaned, reshaped, and refilled. After pretreatment, your tooth will be sealed with a temporary seal in the crown of the tooth.  Retreatment is more complex than the original procedure, and the odds for success are 80-85%. You will need to return to your dentist as soon as possible in order to have a new crown or restoration placed on the tooth to restore full functionality.


It is rare for endodontic patients to experience complications after routine endodontic treatment. Please refer to our Home Care Instructions after Endodontic Therapy for detailed guidance and  instructions.  An endodontist from Northwest Endodontic Specialists, PC is always on call and is available to resolve unanticipated difficulties.