There are certain occasions when a root canal seems to fail. When something like this happens, the guilty dentist will usually try to redo the root canal so that it is completed correctly. This dentist is likely trying to remove the old filling materials that were used for the root (ie, the endodontic cement that was used to seal the root, as well as the gutta-percha). After that, he will try to reposition the tooth before replacing the extracted materials.
The problem, however, is that the old filling is extremely difficult to remove from the tooth. It makes it even more difficult if a post has already been placed in the tooth socket to help prepare the tooth before a crown is placed. If this is the case, an x-ray can be used to show the fault associated with the root. There is a surgical procedure that can be used to get rid of the problematic root tip called an apicoectomy. This procedure also allows the dentist to remove any abscesses that may be related to the failed root canal.
The procedure of an apicoectomy is completed by cutting the flap of soft tissue located just above the treated tooth root amputation where the tip of the root canal is visible. This cut will go through the bone and amputate the tip of the root. The reason for this surgery is to try to remove living or dead tissue that caused the problem. This is usually enough to get rid of the problem, but sometimes the dentist will make a small preparation at the tip of the root. The dentist then closes the canal with a small amalgam filling.
If this small filling is not possible, the dentist may also try a filling. A filling involves melting some of the gutta-percha at the root tip to try to create a seal. These two procedures (apicoectomies and retrofillings) are usually the last effort of the dentist to try to save the tooth that has been treated with endodontics. They are most commonly used on a failed root canal tooth with a post in the core. This is one way to create a seal and save the tooth.