What is Endodontic Retreatment?
Teeth that undergo a root canal treatment can last a lifetime without ever needing further treatment. Occasionally a tooth that has previously received a root canal treatment fails to heal or becomes reinfected. This can happen due to complexities associated with the root canal anatomy or due to occurrence of trauma, new cavities, loose or broken fillings etc. In these cases, endodontic retreatment can be considered as second chance to save your tooth.
In order to perform a retreatment procedure, often complex restorative materials, such as crown, post, and core material, must be disassembled and removed to allow access to the root canals. During retreatment, the old root filling material that were placed in the root canals during the first procedure will be removed. The tooth will be carefully examined to look for possible untreated root canal spaces and the inside of the root will be chemo-mechanically prepared. A new root filling material will then be placed inside the root to seal the canals. The opening will be sealed with a temporary filling. Once the retreatment procedure is completed, you will have to return to your dentist for placement of a new crown or other restoration on the tooth to protect it.
When retreatment is being considered for an infected tooth, endodontic surgery is also an alternative option. The surgery involves making an incision near the end of the root to allow the tip of the root to be sealed. Endodontic surgery may be recommended in conjunction with retreatment or as an alternative. Your endodontist will discuss your options and recommend appropriate treatment.
The other option is extraction of the tooth. The extracted tooth must then be replaced with an implant, bridge, or removable partial denture to restore chewing function and to prevent adjacent teeth from shifting. Because these alternatives require surgery or dental procedures on adjacent healthy teeth, they can be far more costly and time consuming than retreatment and restoration of the natural tooth.
We encourage you to watch the following educational video on retreatment procedures: