With proper care, most teeth that have had endodontic (root canal) treatment can last as long as other natural teeth. Root canals have a 95% success rate. In some cases, however, a tooth that has received endodontic treatment fails to heal. Occasionally, the tooth becomes painful or diseased months or even years after successful treatment.
Why do I need retreatment?
As occasionally happens with any dental or medical procedure, a tooth may not heal as expected after initial treatment for a variety of reasons:
Narrow or curved canals were not treated during the initial procedure.
Complicated canal anatomy went undetected in the first procedure.
The placement of the crown or other restoration was delayed following the endodontic treatment.
The restoration did not prevent salivary contamination to the inside of the tooth.
In other cases, a new problem can jeopardize a tooth that was successfully treated.
New decay can expose the root canal filling material to bacteria, causing a new infection in the tooth. A loose, cracked or broken crown or filling can expose the tooth to a new infection. A tooth sustains a fracture. Retreatment involves the following:
- At the initial visit the tooth is examined x-rays are taken and your treatment options will be discussed. If you and Dr. Berkowitz choose retreatment, the retreatment will begin immediately or be scheduled for a future date.
- At the retreatment appointment local anesthetic will be administered to numb the tooth. After the tooth is numb, access to the root canal filling material is made. In many cases, complex restorative materials (crown, post and core material) must be disassembled and removed to permit access to the root canals.
- After removing the canal filling, canals are recleaned and the inside of your tooth is carefully examined searching for any additional canals or unusual anatomy that requires treatment.
- After cleaning and shaping the canals, they will be refilled and a temporary filling will be placed in the tooth. Post space may also be prepared at this time.
- After retreatment is completed, you will need to return as soon as possible to have a new crown or other restoration placed on the tooth to protect and restore it to full function.
- If the canals are unusually narrow or blocked, Dr. Berkowitz may recommend endodontic surgery.