Advances in dental care have significantly improved the procedures and practices in the dental industry and have increased the level of care available to patients. As a result, treatments are more successful than ever before and in many cases treatment results are life-long. Unfortunately, there are some cases in which a previous dental treatment does not heal properly or does not last as long as it should. In these cases, dentists must retreat an area or tooth to prevent further damage or decay.
Reasons for Endodontic Retreatment
According to the American Association of Endodontists (AAE), there are many reasons why root canal retreatment may be required including:
- Complications arise during the initial treatment due to narrow or complex root canal anatomy.
- The crown was not placed in time and the root canal became infected once again.
- A filling was not sealed properly and infection contaminated the tooth again.
- An old root canal was not completed properly and the tooth became infected again over time as restorative sealants or crowns became damaged.
- New decay has allowed bacteria into a previously treated root canal.
In these cases, pain symptoms may not arise immediately, but infections can be detected during routine dental check-ups. If caught early, the prognosis for retreatment is positive and can prevent further infection or tooth decay. When a root canal is retreated, the tooth must be reopened to access the damaged root canal. All old fillings and restorative materials must be removed so the canal can be retreated and cleaned carefully.
The endodontist will discuss your treatment options. If you and your endodontist choose retreatment, the doctors will reopen your tooth to gain access to the root canal filling material. This restorative material will be removed to enable access to the root canal. The doctors will now clean your canals and carefully examine the inside of the problem tooth. After the doctor has cleaned the canal, they will fill and seal the canals and place a temporary filling in the tooth. You will then need to return to your dentist as soon as possible in order to have a new crown or restoration placed on the tooth to restore full functionality.