When Do Teeth Need Endodontic Retreatment?

When Do Teeth Need Endodontic Retreatment?

Team Endodontics

Endodontics is the diagnosis and treatment of conditions affecting the dental pulp, the soft tissue inside of a tooth made up of blood vessels and nerves. Endodontic treatment most commonly refers to a root canal, and endodontic retreatment is simply a repeat root canal. Why is a repeat root canal necessary? There are a few possible reasons that a tooth that has already been treated with a root canal may need further treatment. 

What is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a procedure used to treat or prevent an infected tooth. The root canal is the inside portion of the tooth that contains the dental pulp. If bacteria invades the root canal it can infect the dental pulp, causing pain and damage to the tooth structure. 

A root canal procedure involves removing the dental pulp, including any infected tissue, and replacing it with a rubbery filling. This relieves the pain from the infection by removing the nerves and prevents reinfection of the tooth in most cases. The tooth is typically covered with a crown to protect the remaining tooth material and the natural root. 

When is Endodontic Retreatment Necessary?

A tooth that has had a root canal will sometimes become reinfected, resulting in the need for a repeat root canal, called endodontic retreatment. This may occur if: 

  • The tooth fails to heal properly. If the tooth and the surrounding tissue doesn’t fully heal after the first root canal, the tooth may become reinfected. 
  • Some dental pulp was left in the tooth. Sometimes there is dental pulp left behind after the first root canal, which is capable of being reinfected. 
  • The root canal was not completely filled. In some teeth there are many root canals, some of which are small and difficult to see during the first root canal procedure. If any portion of the root canal was not filled it could be susceptible to infection. 
  • The crown or filling is not secure. If the crown or filling is not securely placed and bonded after the first root canal, it can allow bacteria to enter the tooth again. 
  • The remaining tooth material cracks or breaks. After a tooth has been restored the tooth material or root beneath the crown could still crack or break, resulting in the need for a repeat root canal and further restoration. 
  • The tooth develops new decay. The remaining natural tooth material is still susceptible to decay. A deep cavity can allow bacteria to invade the root canal again. 

What Does Endodontic Retreatment Entail?

If you have a tooth that needs a repeat root canal, the first step is to remove the current crown or filling. Then the filling material and any leftover dental pulp will be removed. The tooth will be flushed out and disinfected to remove all of the infection. A thorough inspection of the tooth will be done with an endodontic microscope to locate all of the root canals and chambers inside of the tooth to make sure no area is missed. Then filling is applied to the inside of the tooth, taking care to leave no spaces unfilled. The crown is reattached or a new crown is placed. 

Benefits of Endodontic Retreatment

Is it worth having a repeat root canal? Consider the following benefits of endodontic retreatment: 

  • Save the tooth. The goal of a root canal is to save the existing tooth and keep it in place in the mouth where it can look and function naturally. The goal is the same for endodontic retreatment. 
  • Relieve pain. An infected tooth can be extremely painful, even if it’s the second time. A repeat root canal will relieve your pain by removing the infected tissue and the nerves inside the tooth. 
  • Prevent further infection. Endodontic retreatment is a more thorough procedure, usually performed by a certified endodontist, that should prevent further infection for good. 

Hudson Endodontics Provides Endodontic Retreatment 

If you have a tooth that is in need of a repeat root canal, it is best to see an endodontist. Hudson Endodontics specializes in root canals and endodontic retreatment, using advanced technology and techniques to ensure that endodontic treatment is thorough and effective with the hope of preventing the need for retreatment. Our goal is to provide you with lasting treatment that will save your tooth and preserve it for your lifetime. 

Call 603-882-5455 or contact us today to learn more and schedule your appointment.