Root Canal Retreatment

Sometimes, a tooth that has undergone root canal therapy may fail to heal. You may continue feeling pain long after the procedure. In some situations, the tooth may initially respond to an endodontic treatment but becomes infected months or years later. These problems can be fixed with a repeat root canal therapy, also known as endodontic retreatment.  

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Why are retreatments necessary?

There are several reasons that can lead to failure of the initial root canal treatment, including:

  • Failure to treat narrow or curved canals during the first procedure
  • Complex canal structures went undetected during the initial procedure
  • Delayed placement of dental crown or filling after the root canal treatment
  • Dental crown of filling failed to protect the inside of the tooth from salivary contamination

There are also situations where a new problem affects a successfully treated tooth. These may include:

  • A loose or broken filling or crown exposing the tooth to new infections
  • Fresh decay exposing the canal filling material to bacteria, which in turn causes a new infection in the tooth
  • The tooth is fractured

If you are battling pain or discomfort in areas where you have previously treated your tooth, it is recommended that you schedule an appointment with our Endodontics team at The Dental Specialty Center.

dentist preparing for root canal treatment

What happens during retreatment?

At The Dental Specialty Center, we utilize a 3D CBCT scan to non-invasively give you the best diagnosis for your tooth prior to determining if retreatment is the best option for you. The CBCT scan is state of the art technology that can show the following:

  • If any missed canals are present from previous treatment
  • Signs of fracture
  • Unusual anatomy
  • Size of infections
  • The extent of bone loss

If after the CBCT scan is reviewed from our Endodontist, and retreatment is recommended for you, the procedure is as follows; Our dentist will make a microscopic entry hole through your crown or filling to access to the existing root canal filling material. Once the root canal material is removed, the canals are then meticulously cleaned.

The tooth will be examined using special lighting and magnification to check for unusual anatomy, additional canals, or infection that needs treatment. After treating any infection, reshaping, and decontaminating the canals, they are refilled. Sometimes, the canals can be too narrow, making them difficult to access.

In that case, our endodontist may recommend endodontic surgery. This surgery involves creating an incision, which allows for access to and sealing of a portion of the tip of the root. After the procedure is complete,  a crown or filling is used to restore the tooth.

Sometimes, despite the best efforts, root canal therapy or endodontic retreatment is unsuccessful. When that happens, tooth extraction may be your only option. After removal, it is important to fill the space with a dental bridge, implant, or removable partial denture to ensures you can still eat properly. It also helps to prevent the adjacent teeth from shifting.

In cases, if it’s determined you’re not a good candidate for retreatment, removal may also be recommended rather than trying retreatment at all. Apicoectomy, where part of the tooth root is removed, may also be an option.

If your tooth still hurts after a root canal, give us a call

In these instances, our endodontist may recommend endodontic surgery. This surgery involves creating an incision, which allows for access to and sealing of a portion of the tip of the root. After the procedure is complete,  a crown or filling is used to restore the tooth.

Sometimes, despite the best efforts, root canal therapy or endodontic retreatment is unsuccessful. When that happens, tooth extraction may be your only option. After removal, it is important to fill the space with a dental bridge, implant, or removable partial denture to ensures you can still eat properly. It also helps to prevent the adjacent teeth from shifting.

If you’re not a good candidate for retreatment, removal may also be recommended rather than trying retreatment at all. Apicoectomy, where part of the tooth root is removed, may also be an option.

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