Teeth that have received root canal therapy normally heal successfully and last as long as other natural teeth.  However, some teeth may fail to heal or may develop a recurrent root canal infection.  If so, endodontic retreatment may be needed.


A Recurrent Root Canal Infection May Develop If:

  • Crown or restoration was not placed as soon as possible 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 canal blockage
  • Hidden canals were not identified and disinfected
  • Recurrent cavities that extend into the root canal
  • The tooth is cracked


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

  1. Access - The doctor will open your tooth through the top surface to gain access to the root canal system.
  2. Disinfection - The existing root canal filling material will be removed and the canals will be carefully examined and disinfected.
  3. Root Canal Filling - Once cleaned, the doctor will fill and seal the canals with a root canal filling.
  4. Temporary Access Filling - Finally a temporary restoration will be placed in the opening of the tooth.  At this point, 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.


What Happens After Treatment?

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.

Avoid chewing on the tooth until you obtain the permanent restoration. Until a permanent restoration is placed, your tooth is at risk for fracture and decay.  If your tooth fractures or decays, the root canal may need to be repeated at additional charge and the tooth may not be able to be restored at all. 

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, the complexity of the tooth affected, and your insurance coverage.  In general, root canal therapy is much less expensive than tooth removal and replacement with an artificial tooth (implant).