Retreat of Root Canals

Retreatment of Root Canals 

A great many people have one or more root canals during their lifetimes. Most root canal procedures are completely successful and fix the problem they are designed to treat. In most cases, a root canal lasts a lifetime. Once in a while, however, as happens with any medical procedure, there is a complication. In the case of root canals, the tooth the complication is that the tooth that has been treated never properly heals or that new infection develops. Some unlucky individuals develop pain again in the same tooth. This can occur months, or even years, after the original treatment.

A Second Chance

Fortunately, if your tooth has failed to heal, or you have developed a new set of problems in the tooth, there is hope that a retreatment (during which the same tooth is re-treated) will resolve the issue once and for all. If you experience dental pain in a previously treated tooth, don’t be shy about bringing the matter up with your endodontist. He or she is likely to reassure you that retreatment is the answer.

Reasons Retreatment May Be Necessary

There are several reasons that retreatment may become necessary. These include:

  • The original procedure failed to address hidden narrow or curved canals
  • Your particular canal anatomy was atypically complicated in a way not originally diagnosed
  • There was a delay in placing the crown after the original endodontic treatment
  • There was contamination by saliva to the inside of the tooth
  • New decay has exposed the filling of the root canal to bacteria, resulting in a new infection
  • Your crown or filling cracked or broke, exposing the tooth to new bacterial invasion
  • Your tooth has sustained a fracture

The Retreatment Procedure

If you require a retreatment procedure, the endodontist will reopen your tooth, removing the old filling materials so that the tooth can be fully re-examined. The doctor will be looking for canals that were missed during the original procedure and for any signs of new infection. Any infected tissue will be removed and the canals will again be shaped and thoroughly cleaned. Once this has been accomplished, the endodontist will fill the opening with new filling materials. When the tooth has healed, a new crown or other type of restoration will be placed on the tooth for protection.