Endodontic retreatment has a high success rate and is routinely performed by endodontic specialists.  Teeth that have received conventional root canal therapy normally heal successfully and last as long as other natural teeth.  However, some teeth may develop a recurrent root canal infection because of persistent bacteria within the tooth.  If so, endodontic retreatment may also be needed to save the tooth.


Why Might I Have Persistent Bacteria Within my Tooth?

  • Crown or restoration was not placed in a timely manner after the procedure.
  • Crown or restoration was loose or lost and the root canal system was exposed
  • Canals could not be completely disinfected due to a blocked canal
  • Hidden canals were not identified and disinfected
  • Recurrent cavity extends into the root canal
  • Cracked tooth


How Do I Prepare for Treatment?

Eat a full breakfast or lunch as you normally would.  Take all medications normally as prescribed by your physician. Take the appropriate antibiotic pre-medication if you have been advised to do so by your physician. Conditions that a premed is sometimes indicated for include:

  • Artificial heart valves
  • History of bacterial endocarditis
  • Certain serious congenital heart conditions
  • Cardiac transplant that develops a problem in a heart valve
  • Joint replacement

If your physician has approved you to take non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS), take 400mg Ibuprofen (Advil) 1-2 hours prior to treatment to prevent pain after the procedure.


The Procedure

Dr. Nerness will give more than enough local anesthesia around the tooth to ensure you are comfortable.  In addition, nitrous oxide (laughing gas) is also available to help you relax if needed. Treatment may be completed in one or more visits depending on the extent of the infection and complexity of the tooth's root canal system.

  1. Access - A small opening will be created in the tooth to access the root canal system.
  2. Disinfection - The existing root canal filling will be removed.  The root canal system, including any previously untreated canals, will be carefully examined and disinfected.
  3. Root Canal Filling - The root canal system will be filled and sealed with a root canal filling.
  4. Temporary Access Filling - A temporary filling will be placed in the opening of the tooth.

What Happens After Treatment?

You are able to drive home after your treatment, and you probably will be comfortable returning to your normal routine.

After treatment, contact your dentist to obtain the permanent restoration as soon as possible.
This is essential protect your tooth against fracture or decay and ensure the best long-term prognosis. We will send a report to your dentist notifying them of the completed treatment and that you will be returning for the permanent restoration.  Please contact your dentist for an appointment.

Chewing on the tooth should be avoided until you obtain the permanent restoration. Until a permanent restoration is placed, your tooth is at risk for fracture.  Failure to obtain the permanent restoration in a timely manner could result in reinfection or loss of the tooth.

Please take medication as directed by Dr. Nerness. Most patients experience mild discomfort after root canal therapy. If you experience swelling or if your discomfort is not being controlled by the medication or is worsening after 3 days, please call the office or return for evaluation immediately. NOTE: Alcohol intake is not advised while taking medications.

There are usually no work or driving restrictions for non-surgical root canal therapy.  It is rare for patients to experience complications after treatment.  If any problems arise or you have any questions please call the office or return to the clinic for evaluation.  We are available at all times to respond. To prevent further decay, continue to practice good dental hygiene.

Return for a follow-up examination in 6 months to evaluate for healing.  This appointment will require only a few minutes and no additional fee will be charged. 


How Much Will It Cost?

Your cost can vary depending on which tooth is affected and the complexity of the tooth affected. In general, root canal therapy is less expensive than tooth removal with replacement with an artificial tooth (implant or bridge).