Root canal therapy is an effective method to remove infection from a tooth and permanently relieve tooth pain. But just as with any medical procedure, there are rare occasions when the body does not recover as expected or develops future complications at the same site. So in time, you may again notice pain in a treated tooth. In this case, you may require root canal retreatment.
Why was the initial root canal treatment unsuccessful?
The initial procedure may have failed due to several factors. The canals — the pulp filled cavities in the root of the tooth — are extremely narrow and complex. Some of these may have gone undetected in the first procedure, or were simply unresponsive to treatment. It’s also possible for an infection to persist near the tooth’s roots, but not inside them, showing no symptoms. This bacteria can later reinvade parts of the tooth that were not treated originally. Root canals may also become re-contaminated due to a delayed or unsuccessful crowning, new tooth decay, new advanced gum disease, or a tooth fracture. Of course, if a tooth starts hurting from months to years after your initial root canal, your question is undoubtedly: “What now?” Let’s consider your options.
The Retreatment Procedure
Effective retreatment saves the natural tooth and extends its normal function for many years. As an alternative, you may opt for endodontic surgery or extraction (removal of the tooth). Indeed, if the problem is located below the tooth, and not in the roots, surgery is likely necessary. And the complication with removing a tooth is that it leads to more complex (and expensive) problems, including the need for a dental implant or bridge. Therefore, retreatment is the best course of action whenever possible.
Endodontic retreatment begins similarly to a normal root canal. After numbing the area, your Yuba City dentist reopens your tooth in order to access the root canal filling material. We then carefully examine the area (using a microscope), searching for additional canals or unusual anatomy. Next, the dentist cleans and disinfects any newly discovered or reinfected canals. Afterwards, your dentist again fills the canals with an inert material, seals them, and places a temporary filling in the tooth. You need to return a short time later to receive a permanent crown.
Is Retreatment the Right Choice for Me?
No procedure is guaranteed 100 percent success. Endodontic retreatment, however, often provides the best chance of saving your tooth. As new technologies are developed and the field of endodontics progresses, it may be possible to treat your tooth using techniques unavailable at the time of your initial procedure. The Yuba City Dentistry Group is here to help you understand the endodontic treatment options available, together with the risks and benefits. Our goal is to preserve your natural teeth whenever possible, so you may enjoy them for years into the future!