What is root canal re-treatment (Re-RCT)?

Root Canal Re-treatment (Re-RCT) is when a previously root canal treated tooth becomes re-infected.  Similar to the standard root canal treatment this may be caused by either:

  • Unsuccessful root canal treatment
  • Leaky fillings
  • Deep cracks in the tooth
  • Tooth decay

The above would allow bacteria to gain access back into the root canal which can cause the previous root canal treatment to fail.

If this happens you will then have a choice of two options to resolve the problem, either extraction or root canal re-treatment.  At Holistic Dental Center we always aim to save natural teeth so we would recommend Re-RCT as your first choice where appropriate.

Re-RCT is a similar procedure to standard RCT, except instead of removing just the infected tissue, the specialist would need to remove the previous filling material (Gutta-Percha), clean, disinfect and shape the tooth again.

Due to the complex nature of Re-RCT, it may take 2-3 appointments under local anesthetic to complete the procedure.

Once the tooth is completely cleared of bacteria and old filling material, the specialist will then re-fill the canal with new Gutta-Percha material.

In order to give your root filled tooth the best chance, we would recommend that the tooth is prepared for a crown (particularly a molar or a premolar tooth). This would ensure that the tooth is fully protected and prevent fracture of the tooth that may necessitate extraction of other successfully treated teeth.

What happens after root canal re-treatment?

You may require over the counter painkillers for a few days after treatment has been completed. The tooth should not feel painful but the area may feel slightly sensitive, just because we have been working on it. In few cases, an antibiotic might be prescribed.