Endodontic Retreatment FAQs
What indicates a root canal needs retreatment?
If a tooth that’s already had a root canal is causing pain, swelling, or inflammation, you should have it examined by one of our Endodontic specialists immediately. You may also notice sensitivity to chewing, a bump on the gums next to the tooth, or tooth discoloration. These could also be signs that your root canal may have failed.
Why do root canals fail?
Root canals are generally very successful procedures. But, if the biological goals of the first root canal weren’t met thoroughly enough, it could fail. In some cases, healing can be compromised due to:
- Not disinfecting the root canal completely before filling it
- Complicated canal anatomy or curves not detected originally
- Poor placement of the filling or crown to protect the root canal
- A fracture of the tooth’s root
New problems and infections can also compromise an existing root canal. Men and women who don’t have good oral hygiene, or experience trauma, are vulnerable to new decay that can infiltrate the tooth and cause a re-infection of the previous root canal treatment.
You may also need a root canal retreatment if you have a tooth fracture and/or a cracked or loose crown that exposes the tooth to bacteria.
What happens during a root canal retreatment?
During root canal retreatment, your provider numbs the area and creates a small opening in your affected tooth and, using a surgical operating microscope, removes the filling material previously placed during your first treatment. They then examine the tooth with a surgical operating microscope and compare that with your pre-operative CT scan, looking for any canals that were missed and/or for signs of reinfection.
Retreatment also involves thoroughly cleansing the internal canals of the tooth, disinfecting the area, shaping the canals, and placing new filling material. Your provider then seals the tooth with a temporary filling until a new filling or crown is placed.
Why should I undergo root canal retreatment?
Retreatment is essential if you want to save the natural tooth. It’s advantageous to preserve the tooth, instead of letting it decay or removing it. When you have a missing tooth, your function and appearance suffer and you may need an implant, bridge, or dentures. Retreated teeth can still last a lifetime and preserve your natural bite feel and mouth structure.
Don’t lose faith in the effectiveness of root canals even if you have one that fails. Newer treatment technologies and advanced diagnostics, in the hands of a skilled Endodontist, can make the new root canal more successful than the original one.
If you have pain or other concerning symptoms at the site of a prior root canal, you may need retreatment. Call the office of WisNova Institute of Dental Specialists or request an appointment online to have your tooth evaluated so you get the best possible treatment options.