Published on January 9, 2023, Updated on January 11, 2023

Root Canal Retreatment ProcedureRoot canal retreatment is a procedure that is done when the root canal does not work the first time doesn’t work. A study in the Journal of Endodontics found that root canal retreatment works 88.42% of the time. The price of a second root canal depends on how long and hard the procedure is. Premolars and molars, which have a lot of canals, will cost more, especially if the canals are a strange shape. In this post, we’ll talk about what you should know about having a root canal again.

What is a Root Canal Retreatment?

In a root canal retreatment, the old crown and filling are taken off, the root canals are cleaned, and the tooth is refilled and crowned again.

In order for a tooth to be a good candidate for root canal retreatment, it needs to be “reopened.” To get to the root canal, a tiny hole is made in the surface of the tooth that you chew on. Usually, complex restorative materials like the crown, post, and core have to be removed to get to the root canals.

Root canal fillings from before will be taken out, and the canals will be cleaned and looked at carefully. After the canals have been cleaned and shaped, they are sealed, and a temporary filling or crown is put in. After the infection is gone and the tooth has healed, the endodontist will put a new crown or restoration on the tooth to make it look and work as it did before.

Reasons for Root Canal Retreatment

Why do you need another root canal? As with any process, there is a chance that the first root canal treatment won’t go as planned. This can happen for a number of different reasons, some of which are listed below.

  • Delay in crown placement – A temporary crown is meant to help for a short time. If the permanent filling wasn’t put in right away, bacteria could get into the tooth.
  • Complex root anatomy – Some people have complicated root systems, which makes it easier for germs to hide in hard-to-reach places. Patients who need a second root canal are more likely to have canals that are narrow, curved, or hard to get into.
  • Salivary contamination – Saliva can leak in and contaminate if a restoration doesn’t completely seal off the tooth.
  • New decay – Decay could start to grow under the filling, which could lead to a new infection in the tooth. In this case, the abscessed root canal may need to be done again.
  • Damaged restoration – Bacteria can enter the tooth if a crown or filling is damaged.
  • Tooth damage – A new infection could start if the tooth breaks, cracks, or gets damaged in some other way.

How Long Does a Root Canal Retreatment Take?

A root canal, also called an endodontic retreatment, is a root canal that has already been done. On average, it takes about 90 minutes to do a root canal again. But the length of the root canal retreatment can still change based on how bad the patient’s dental problem is.

Is Throbbing Pain After Root Canal Retreatment Normal?

Yes, you should expect to feel some pain after a root canal retreatment. In about 3 days, the pain should go away. You can take the painkillers your dentist has given you until then.

But it’s not normal to feel sharp, severe pain for up to a week or two after a root canal retreatment. It means that the root canal retreatment didn’t work and that the tooth might be infected. In that case, you should immediately call your dentist or endodontist.

How Long is the Recovery Time for Root Canal Retreatment?

Root canal retreatment recovery time can differ for each person, but most people are fine after a few days. But in the worst cases, some patients have problems and may need a week or two to get better. Most people are fully healed from a root canal after a few days. Patients rarely have problems that slow their recovery by a week or more.

What’s the Success Rate of Root Canal Retreatment?

A study in the Journal of Endodontics says that 88.42% of root canals that need to be fixed work out. This endodontic treatment can help your tooth last for many years or even a lifetime in some cases.

What to Expect After Root Canal Retreatment

Root canal surgery is similar to the first root canal in terms of how long it takes to heal. Near the tooth, it’s normal to feel mild pain, swelling, and tenderness. You can make yourself feel better by using cold packs and taking over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen or aspirin. Until the pain goes away, you should only eat soft foods and avoid chewing on the painful side. Talk to your dentist or endodontist if you are still in a lot of pain a week or two after the procedure.

Do I Need a New Crown After Root Canal Retreatment?

No, the crown is almost never removed when the root canal is done again. Your endodontist might be able to do the procedure by going through the crown. Your dentist will tell you if you need a new crown or if the one you already have can be fixed.

Risks of Root Canal Retreatment

When done by a trained and experienced specialist, root canal treatment has a high rate of success. But, like any other medical procedure, patients should think about the risks and possible complications of root canal retreatment.

  • Tooth Discoloration – The treated tooth may change color in some patients if the tooth pulp is removed. The dental pulp is the living tissue inside the tooth. If this happens, it can be fixed from an aesthetic standpoint with crowns and veneers.
  • Reinfection – Patients who need a root canal retreatment worry most about getting infection again. After a root canal retreatment, there is a chance that the tooth will get infected again, but your endodontist will take steps to prevent this. If any part of the procedure is done wrong, the infection can come back. Most often, the seal won’t hold during a root canal. After the root canal is done, your endodontist will need to close the hole they used to get to the tooth. If there are holes in the seal, bacteria can get into the tooth.
  • Disruption of Surrounding Nerves – In a small number of people, the root canal procedure can cause the nerves around the affected tooth to become irritated. This can make the area feel numb. But after a few weeks, it usually goes away.
  • Allergy to Anesthesia – Another risk of a second root canal is if the patient is allergic to the medicine used to put them to sleep. You should tell your dentist ahead of time if you have an allergy to any anesthetic.

Root Canal Retreatment Failure Symptoms

  • Pain or tenderness in the tooth when applying pressure
  • Swelling or pimple-like structures that leak pus in the area
  • Discoloration inside the tooth
  • Sensitivity to temperature, such as pain that comes on quickly and sharply after drinking cold soda or hot coffee

How Much Does a Root Canal Retreatment Cost?

Without insurance, a second root canal can range from $750 to $2,400. (molars are the most expensive, followed by bicuspids and front teeth). On the other hand, after the deductible is paid, some dental insurance plans cover 50% to 80% of the cost of a root canal. Dental insurance may cover root canal retreatment partially or fully, but some policies only pay for one procedure on a tooth in a certain amount of time. Before getting a second opinion, check with your dentist and insurance company to ensure you are covered.

Root Canal Retreatment vs. Other Dental Procedures

The best way to save a natural tooth is to do another root canal. There are; however, other options to root canal treatment.

Root Canal Retreatment vs. Extraction

Dentists always tell you to keep your teeth. But there are times when you can no longer keep your natural teeth. Find the pros and cons of root canal retreatment and teeth extraction below. This will help you decide which one to choose.

Pros and Cons of Root Canal Retreatment vs. Tooth Extraction

Root Canal Retreatment Tooth Extraction
Cost Root canal work can cost anywhere from $750 to $2,400. Molars cost the most, then bicuspids, and then front teeth. Getting a tooth pulled can cost anywhere from $75 to $200, depending on how bad the case’s terrible.
Procedure In a root canal retreatment, the tooth is opened up again, the old filling is taken out, the canals are cleaned, a new root filling is put in, and then a new restoration is put on. Tooth extractions can be simple or surgical.
Risks Root canal retreatment can lead to a discolored tooth, a new infection, and damage to the nerves in the area (occurs in only a small percentage of cases). Some risks of having a tooth pulled are bleeding, a dry socket, and an infection.
Recovery period Root canal retreatment usually takes 2 to 3 days to heal from. A tooth extraction usually takes 1 to 2 weeks to recover from.

Root Canal Retreatment vs. Dental Implants

With a second root canal, you can keep your natural tooth. Root canal surgery is more invasive, expensive, and takes longer than root canal surgery. But if the repair doesn’t work, you may still need to remove the damaged tooth.

On the other hand, a dental implant can make your face look better and stop the loss of bone. A single tooth implant can last up to 20 years if it is cared for well at home and has dental checkups every six months.

Pros and Cons of Root Canal Retreatment vs. Dental Implants

Root Canal Retreatment Dental Implants
Cost Root canal work can cost anywhere from $750 to $2,400. Molars cost the most, then bicuspids, and then front teeth. A single dental implant usually costs between $3,000 and $6,000.
Procedure In a root canal retreatment, the tooth is opened up again, the old filling is taken out, the canals are cleaned, a new root filling is put in, and then a new restoration is put on. With dental implants, fake teeth, or crowns in the mouth. The jaw bone is drilled for a dental implant, which acts as the root for the new tooth.
Risks Root canal retreatment can lead to a discolored tooth, a new infection, and damage to the nerves in the area (occurs in only a small percentage of cases). You can get an infection, damage a nerve, or have sinus problems if you get a dental implant.
Recovery Period Root canal retreatment usually takes 2 to 3 days to heal. Most dental implants take between 3 and 6 months to heal.

How Many Times Can a Root Canal Be Retreated?

A dentist can do a root canal twice on the same tooth. Root canal-treated teeth can last a lifetime, but some might not heal properly because they were infected or something else.

How Common is a Failed Root Canal Retreatment?

Based on a study published in the Journal of Endodontics, less than 12% of root canal retreatments fail. Root canal retreatment works well, as shown by the low failure rate.

Is Retreatment of Root Canal With Crown Possible?

Yes, but only if the root canal retreatment is done on a tooth with a crown that didn’t break during the retreatment. After that, the dentist will fill that crown as the last repair.

Are you thinking about getting a root canal retreatment? Reach out to Dr. Ronald Ayzin at Laguna Dental Center to schedule an appointment.