Endodontic Retreatment

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Teeth with endodontic treatment can last as long as natural teeth provided that you brush and floss daily, have routine check-ups and eat a healthy diet. However, if a tooth has undergone root canal therapy and does not heal, or even if treatment is successful, sometimes pain resumes and the tooth becomes diseased. Under these circumstances, endodontic retreatment may save your tooth.

Reasons for Retreatment

  • Damage to the root: Root damage can occur as a result of a root fracture or because of the formation of a cyst or infection around the tip of the root.
  • New decay develops: When the root canal filling is exposed to bacteria as a result of decay, the treatment area may become infected again. A broken, loose or cracked crown or filling can yield the same result.
  • Root canals are not thoroughly cleaned and sealed: For treatment to be effective, the root canals must be thoroughly cleaned and sealed as close to the root as possible. In some cases, the canals may be so tiny, curved or hardened that they may be difficult to clean thoroughly.

The Retreatment Procedure

During endodontic retreatment, the root canals are reopened, filled and sealed again. Usually the crown and other materials must be removed for the endodontist to access the canals. The inside of the tooth is carefully examined for the presence of other canals and unusual anatomy to ensure a thorough cleaning and sealing during this retreatment.

If the canals are narrow, curved or hardened, your endodontist can make an incision close to the end of the root, so that the tip of the root can be sealed.

Following the final visit, a new restoration must be placed to protect the tooth and to restore biting and chewing functions.

Alternatives to Retreatment

Endodontic surgery or surgery along with retreatment may be recommended. Tooth extraction is the only other alternative. This process is ultimately more expensive and time consuming because the tooth must be replaced. While modern tooth replacements are effective, nothing is better than your natural tooth.

If you have any questions, please call our office and speak to a member of our staff about retreatment.

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