All You Need to Know About Endodontic Retreatment

All You Need to Know About Endodontic Retreatment

February 1, 2022

Are you still experiencing a toothache on the same tooth treated a few weeks ago? If you had undergone a root canal treatment to save your tooth, you should not be experiencing any pain or discomfort after your treatment. However, it is not a novel thing if you do. Several people need endodontic retreatment for their teeth after their first procedure, usually because the tooth does not heal properly as is expected.

What is Endodontic Retreatment?

It is a dental procedure performed to restore a tooth that has been re-infected after a root canal procedure. Technically, successful root canal treatments can serve you for a lifetime with proper care. However, in some cases, you can suffer a bacterial infection in a tooth that had recently been treated tooth. For some, it happens a few weeks after the initial treatment, while it may take years for others. Seeking treatment for such a tooth is called endodontic retreatment. The repeat procedure typically supports the initial treatment to promote proper healing with minimal to zero chances of re-infection.

What Happens During Endodontic Retreatment?

The whole concept of endodontic retreatment is to repeat the root canal procedure but do it better, regardless of the reason for re-infection. The process of retreatment first entails re-opening the tooth. Depending on the final finish of the tooth, this step will differ. Often, it involves disassembling the dental crown and tooth filling on the exterior of the tooth, which will provide access to the canal. Once done, your dentist in Livonia will clean the tooth thoroughly. This time your dentist will rely on an illuminator and magnifier to identify various components of your tooth root anatomy. After cleaning, your dentist will fill and seal the tooth as is typical of standard root canal protocols. It means getting a new permanent filling and dental crown to replace the ones you had.

However, at Willow Wood Dental, we sometimes use a different treatment protocol for endodontic retreatment. Instead of disassembling the tooth, we can access the root end of your tooth through the gum tissue. This procedure entails an endodontic surgery called Apicoectomy. The root ends are treated and sealed, treating your pain and closing off any room for re-infection.

Who Needs Endodontic Retreatment?

Patients may need endodontic retreatment for different reasons, including the following:

  1. Salivary contamination – although your saliva is crucial for dental health, it is also the fluid that carries bacteria. Therefore, if the treatment site did not dry well enough before sealing the tooth, it could have given room for salivary contamination, which tampered with the success of your root canal treatment.
  2. Complex root canal anatomy – teeth can have different root canal anatomy. If it is undetected by an endodontist near you during your first treatment, then your procedure may not be as successful as it should.
  3. Delayed tooth crowning – the period between your first root canal treatment and the installation of a dental crown is crucial. If your tooth is not well-protected by a temporary dental crown, it can get infected before a permanent crown is ready for installation.
  4. Crack or fracture on the tooth – post root canal procedure.
  5. A new cavity on the treated tooth – is prevalent for patients who hardly maintain good oral hygiene.
  6. Damaged dental crown – if it loosens, cracks or breaks.

Is the Process Painful?

The endodontic process is generally an uncomfortable procedure as it deals with diseased teeth. In many cases, as you seek treatment, you may already be suffering from a severe toothache or dentin hypersensitivity. It is why all endodontic procedures begin with numbing of the mouth using local anesthesia. Other than that, your dentist may employ sedation dentistry that promotes calmness and relaxation to overcome dental anxiety during dental works. With such measures in place, you will not feel pain during your treatment.

Is It Worth It?

Unfortunately, the concern over whether your tooth will be problematic again will be there even after endodontic retreatment. In most cases, dentists will reassure you of a successful procedure. However, it does not mean you are guaranteed a perfectly healed tooth. Endodontic procedures only offer you an alternative for preserving your natural tooth as long as possible. If the tooth heals as it should and you care for it properly, you can go a lifetime without needing another dental procedure for the same tooth.