Dentist Questions Root canal retreatment

Can an infected root canal tooth be saved?

The tooth I just had a root canal on is infected again. Is it possible for this tooth to be saved? Will I need a second root canal?

13 Answers

Yes. With successful root canal therapy
Retreatment of teeth with failed root canal fillings is always a possibility. However, the success rate of 95 to 98 percent with a first-time root filling often falls to 50 to 65 percent success with a second root filling. Ask your dentist what he believes the chances are with your tooth.
Sometimes root canals need to be retreated. You should schedule an appointment with your dentist to have the tooth examined and xrayed to see what the best course of action will be.
The tooth can usually be saved. The filling in the root canal should not be placed if an infection is still active. If it was ,a lot of times antibiotics can calm it down and it will not have to be retreated. Sometimes the filling material will need to be removed and then placed again later when there is no longer an infection. In some cases one of the canals on a molar was missed and the infection is coming from that. This canal needs to be treated to get ridge of the infection
I’d first start seeing the dentist again. There are a few reasons why it could of failed. Some of those reasons can be fixed. Sometimes dispite all good efforts the tooth may not be saved. Talk with your dentist, make a good choice with the information. Good luck

Dr Jensen
It’s possible that the tooth could be saved. The thing that would need to be determined is why the first root canal failed. That could be various reasons. There could be an extra canal that was not seen the first time. There could have been incomplete instrumentation of the canals leaving bacteria behind that have reinfected the tooth. In both of those scenarios the tooth could be treated again and the tooth saved. Another possible scenario could be that there is a crack in the root. In this case the tooth would never be completely sealed and it would not be possible for the tooth to be saved. It would need an extraction at that point. There are some situations and some teeth that cannot be completely cleaned out for various reasons and will need to be extracted and replaced.

Dr. Brandon Nicholson, D.D.S.
Yes and no. If the infection is a result of the tooth being fractured, then the tooth cannot be saved. However, often times a root canal can be retreated or there is a procedure called an apicoectomy where the endodontist does a surgery at the bottom of the root. Best to get back with your dentist to determine the best treatment going forward.


Dr. Rankin
Yes, it can be saved by retreatment of the root canal. You have to get it evaluated by a dentist
Great question. Every situation is different. There is a possibility the tooth may still be saved. You will need to return to the provider who completed the root canal or any Endodontist specialist for a retreatment. I advise that you take immediate action to prevent damage to the surrounding areas. If there is too much damage, the treatment of choice is extract the tooth and replace it with an implant, bridge, or removable prosthesis.

Dana Truesdale, DDS
Infected root canal teeth can be saved depending upon the amount of caries and the amount of sound tooth structure remaining after the caries have been removed and the root canal is complete. If it's too far sub osseous it must be extracted. If it is fractured it must be extracted. Sometimes you need soft tissue removal and other times you need a hard tissue crown lengthening. It is most important to create a full ferule and shoulder for the crown restoration to sit on. Usually, I find, that a cast post and core are preferable to a direct post and core build-up. I prefer a PFM crown rather that a PFZ.
Yes! See an endodontist (root canal specialist) to diagnose the exact cause of failure. Retreatment of failed root canals is a growing percentage of many specialists' practices (about 20 -25% of my own). Sometimes it is a matter of redoing the root canal, sometimes surgery is involved, sometimes the tooth cannot be saved (due to fracture, severe decay and other issues). Most endodontists have microscopes that will allow them to see better, missed canals, cracks and so forth. Speak to an endodontist.
If you just had a root canal done, sometimes there is residual bacteria around the outside of the tooth (under the root) that requires treatment with antibiotics. Return to your dentist for an evaluation.
These teeth can be saved through root canal retreatment, something called and apicoectomy, or alternative treatment options. This depends on the severity of the infection and amount of viable remaining tooth structure remaining.