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Root canal retreatment: when it’s necessary and what to expect

Do you have a root canal that doesn’t seem to be healing? Are you experiencing pain or discomfort that won’t go away? If so, you may need root canal retreatment. Don’t worry, it’s not as scary as it sounds. Here’s what you need to know.

A schema showing the root canal treatment process

What’s root canal retreatment?

Root canal retreatment is a dental procedure performed when a tooth that previously underwent root canal treatment develops issues or exhibits symptoms of persistent infection or inflammation. If left untreated, these issues can cause further damage to the tooth and surrounding tissues.


When do you need another root canal?

To determine the need for root canal retreatment, a dentist will perform a careful examination and diagnostic tests, using X-rays and clinical assessments to evaluate the current condition of the treated tooth. Retreatment may be recommended if there are signs of infection, persistent pain, swelling or changes in the bone surrounding the tooth.


Step-by-step in root canal retreatment

If you need root canal retreatment, here’s what you can expect during the procedure:


1.      The process starts with removing the existing dental crown and any filling or packing material in the tooth’s root canals. This allows the dentist to access the root system for further evaluation and treatment.


2.      The next step involves cleaning and disinfecting the root canals. The dentist uses specialized instruments to remove any remaining infected or damaged tissue and clean and shape the canals to make them easier to fill.


3.      Once the canals are thoroughly cleaned, they’re filled with a biocompatible material called gutta-percha. This material helps seal the canals to prevent the entry of bacteria and other contaminants. Sometimes, the dentist will use a sealer for extra protection.


4.      The opening is then sealed with a temporary filling. Once the area has healed and the root canal retreatment is deemed successful, a permanent crown or restoration is placed on the tooth to provide strength and protection.


Post-procedure care: what to expect during recovery

Like a standard root canal treatment, it’s common for the affected tooth or teeth to feel somewhat sensitive for a few days. This can typically be managed with over-the-counter pain medications. You should also avoid eating hard, spicy, hot, cold or sugary foods and drinks for a little while. Additionally, it’s important to continue practicing good oral hygiene during your recovery, such as regular brushing and flossing.


Professional dental office in London, Ontario

If you’re experiencing prolonged pain or discomfort after a root canal, retreatment may be necessary. At Cosmo Dental Clinic, our dentists provide various general and cosmetic dentistry services, including fillings, extractions, veneers, whitening treatments and more. Our family dentist also offers all new patients a free consultation. Contact us today at our dental office in London.


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