- Root Canal Therapy
do I need another endodontic procedure?
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
• Complicated canal anatomy went undetected in the first procedure.
• The placement
of the crown or other restoration was delayed following the endodontic
• 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. For example:
• 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 new infection.
• A tooth sustains
happen during retreatment?
First, the endodontist
will discuss your treatment options. If you and your endodontist
choose retreatment, the endodontist will reopen your tooth to
gain access to the root canal filling material.
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, the endodontist can clean the
canals and carefully examine the inside of your tooth using magnification
and illumination, searching for any additional canals or unusual
anatomy that requires treatment.
After cleaning the canals, the endodontist will fill and seal
the canals and place a temporary filling in the tooth. If the
canals are unusually narrow or blocked, your endodontist may recommend
endodontic surgery. This surgery involves making an incision to
allow the other end of the root to be sealed.
After your endodontist completes retreatment, you will need to
return to your dentist as soon as possible to have a new crown
or other restoration placed on the tooth to protect and restore
it to its full function.
Is retreatment the best choice for me?
it is best to save your natural tooth. Retreated teeth can function
well for years, even for a lifetime.
Advances in technology
are constantly changing the way root canal treatment is performed,
so your endodontist may use new techniques that were not available
when you had your first procedure. Your endodontist may be able
to resolve your problem with retreatment.
As with any dental
or medical procedure, there are no guarantees. Your endodontist
will discuss your options and the chances of success before beginning
will the procedure cost?
The cost varies
depending on how complicated the procedure will be. The procedure
will probably be more complex than your first root canal treatment,
because your restoration and filling material may need to be removed
to accomplish the new procedure. In addition, your endodontist
may need to spend extra time searching for unusual canal anatomy.
can generally expect retreatment to cost more than the initial
While dental insurance
may cover part or all of the cost for retreatment, some policies
limit coverage to a single procedure on a tooth in a given period
of time. Check with your employer or insurance company prior to
retreatment to be sure of your coverage.
What are the alternatives to retreatment?
retreatment is not an option, then endodontic surgery should be
considered. This surgery involves making an incision to allow
access to the tip of the root. Endodontic surgery may also be
recommended in conjunction with retreatment or as an alternative.
Your endodontist will discuss your options and recommend appropriate
What are the alternatives to endodontic
retreatment and/or endodontic surgery?
The only other
alternative 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 options require extensive 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.
No matter how
effective tooth replacements are—nothing is as good as your own
natural tooth. You’ve already made an investment in saving your
tooth. The payoff for choosing retreatment could be a healthy,
functioning natural tooth for many years to come.