If you had a tooth that was compromised by an infection, your dentist used a root canal to prevent an extraction because the procedure has over a 95% success rate. Countless teeth are fixed each year that would otherwise have needed to be removed. After your initial treatment, you probably never expected to need to have it again, but that’s the situation you’re facing. Root canal retreatment may be necessary if the first procedure failed. Don’t worry, here’s what you need to know to save your tooth, so it can last for a lifetime.
What is Root Canal Retreatment?
Root canal therapy involves removing the inner layer of the tooth called the pulp. Any areas of decay or damage are also treated before it is sterilized and sealed with a special material called gutta-percha. Often, a crown is placed over the tooth to protect it from additional problems.
It’s normal for your tooth to be tender for a few days following the procedure, but if the pain worsens or occurs several months or years afterward, you may need root canal retreatment. Complications can occur for several reasons, such as:
- Narrowed or curved canals weren’t treated.
- Complex canal anatomy was undetected.
- Restoration didn’t stop salivary contamination in the tooth.
- Crown placement was delayed.
- New decay has exposed the tooth to bacteria.
- Loose, cracked, or broken crown or filling.
- Fractured tooth.
What Can I Expect During Retreatment?
No matter the cause, your dentist will need to perform the retreatment right away to restore the health of your tooth before it’s too late. You won’t need to worry about any pain during the procedure because they’ll also use a numbing agent and the latest technologies and techniques to keep you comfortable.
They’ll begin by disassembling any restorative materials to gain access to the root canals. The canals are cleaned and examined using magnification and illumination to look for the source of the problem. After it has been resolved, they will sterilize and reseal your tooth before placing the restoration.
If your dentist finds your canals are unusually narrow, blocked, or complex, they may recommend endodontic surgery as an alternative. An incision is made to give your dentist to access the other end of the root that must be sealed.
Are There Alternatives to Retreatment or Surgery?
Unfortunately, the only other option is to pull your tooth if you don’t want to undergo retreatment. Although it may only be a single tooth, it can lead to preventable oral health issues, like cavities, gum disease, and additional tooth loss.
It’s always best to salvage your tooth when possible. Your dentist will create the personalized plan you need to repair your root canal, so your tooth thrives for a lifetime.
About Dr. Gregory C. Gell
After earning his dental degree from the University of Iowa College of Dentistry, Dr. Gell received a Master’s degree in oral biology and a certification in endodontics. As a Diplomate of the American Board of Endodontics, he can treat advanced oral health issues. If your root canal has failed, contact our office today to schedule an appointment.