Can Root Canals Be Re-Treated?
By Mina Levi, DDS, 08/28/2015

In a root canal procedure, the roots or nerves of the tooth are removed, so there shouldn’t be any pain coming from that tooth anymore. However, every now and then some patients have residual pain that is immediate, or years after the root canal is performed and they need a second root canal. This isn’t a second root canal so much as it is a re-treatment of a root canal. In this week’s article, San Francisco Dentist Mina Levi, DDS discusses what it means when a root canal needs to be re-treated.

Root Canals San Francisco

What happens during a root canal re-treatment?

The endodontist will re-open the tooth or drill through the placed restoration and remove the filling materials that were placed in the canals of the tooth during the first root canal procedure. Then, the endodontist will look for signs of new infection or additional canals that need to be treated. The endodontist will then remove any infection or clean out the missed canal, clean and reshape them, and place new filling materials. Another crown or restoration will need to be placed on the tooth after the retreatment.

Why would I need a second root canal procedure?

A tooth may not heal as expected after the initial root canal for a number of reasons:
1. Complicated canal anatomy went undetected in the first procedure. Some people have a complicated root system like an extra root that is directly behind another root, so an x-ray may not have shown this in the initial treatment.
2. Narrow canals were not treated during the initial procedure.
3. The restoration (filling or crown) did not prevent saliva from contaminating the inside of the tooth.
4. The placement of the crown was delayed after the endodontic root canal treatment. If you wait more than 30 days after a root canal to have the crown placed, it can cause problems with the initial treatment.

If you have tooth pain or a root canalled tooth that is bothering you and you think you may need re-treatment, visit San Francisco Dentist Mina Levi, DDS on the web at or give us a call at (415) 513-5066.