A root canal treatment is a procedure that can rescue a severely infected or damaged tooth, providing relief from pain and preserving your smile. However, there are instances where a second round of treatment becomes necessary. This is what is known as “root canal retreatment.”
If you want to learn more about root canals and the specifics of when root canal retreatment might be required, continue reading.
What is a Root Canal Treatment?
A root canal treatment begins with opening an infected or damaged tooth to access the innermost part of it—the pulp. Once the tooth is open, your dentist will gently clean out the infection using small pipe cleaner-like tools that can reach into the narrow roots.
The space is then thoroughly cleaned, disinfected, and sealed to prevent further infection. Root canals are generally highly successful procedures. Instances of retreatment are rare, only about 7 percent of all root canal treatments require retreatment.
When is Root Canal Retreatment Necessary?
While root canals are generally effective, there are times when the initial treatment may not be entirely successful, or complications may arise. Here are common reasons why root canal retreatment might be necessary:
Incomplete Removal of Infection
In some cases, the initial root canal procedure may not completely remove all the infected pulp or bacteria from the tooth. This could happen due to a tooth being in a difficult position to reach during the initial treatment, making it difficult to clean.
A previously treated tooth can become reinfected if new bacteria enter the roots. This can occur due to a cracked filling, crown, or tooth structure that allows bacteria to enter the pulp chamber and multiply.
Tooth decay is like a slow-burning fire. It starts in one spot and can jump to additional teeth if it’s not “put out.” Sometimes decay will spread into a tooth that has already had a root canal treatment, opening a path for food debris and plaque bacteria to enter.
What Happens During a Root Canal Retreatment?
Root canal retreatment is much like the original root canal. The only difference is that the dentist must undo the seals that they put in previously.
The filling material in the center of the tooth is carefully removed, and then the small rubber-like “percha” that occupy the roots. Your dentist will then re-clean the tooth and seal it off again.
Retreatment is the best way to save a tooth that has experienced complications or reinfection after a root canal. A possible alternative would be an extraction to keep the teeth around the infected one safe, but this is not the desired outcome.
If you experience persistent pain or discomfort in a previously treated tooth, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your dentist at the earliest available time. Early diagnosis and treatment will save you a lot of toothache.
About the Practice
At Coombs, Ross and Sourlis Family Dentistry of Rock Hill, you’ll be part of the family the moment you walk in the door. Their team of highly trained and compassionate dentists uses the latest dental technology to ensure your treatment is painless and efficient. Need guidance on your treatment plan? Their professional staff is standing by. To schedule a root canal consultation call (803) 592-6201 or visit the website to learn more.