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When is Root Canal Retreatment Needed?

February 17, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — deandentalcare @ 10:32 pm

Model of a tooth after a root canalIf you had an infected tooth, your dentist used root canal therapy to save it from extraction. More than 41,000 root canals are performed every day but are only recommended when there aren’t any other solutions to save a tooth. The endodontic procedure has over a 97% success rate. However, some patients may require retreatment. Here’s why your dentist may recommend root canal treatment.

Who Needs Root Canal Retreatment?

A root canal is a procedure used to extract the pulp of a tooth, the innermost layer. The tooth is sterilized and sealed with a material called gutta-percha. Some patients may have a dental crown placed over the tooth for an added layer of protection. Many people never experience any other complications with the tooth, even several years later. However, some patients can develop pain and other issues right after treatment or many years down the road. Common causes of post-root canal problems include:

  • Tooth Decay: Even if your tooth is covered by a dental crown, it can be affected by decay. A cavity can form near the tooth, exposing the root to bacteria. This can cause a new infection within the tooth.
  • Hidden Bacteria: Not all tooth roots are the same. Some can be more complex than others, making it difficult to fully clean out the roots. Bacteria can hide in curved or narrow roots. If the root wasn’t fully cleaned out the first time, your tooth will need to be retreated. 
  • Delayed Crown Placement: If you delay getting your dental crown after your initial root canal, a new infection can occur.
  • Tooth Damage: Damage to your tooth or restoration can allow bacteria to gain access to it, resulting in a new infection.

What to Expect with Root Canal Retreatment

Root canal retreatment doesn’t differ much from your original procedure. Your dentist will use a numbing medication to block any pain. They’ll remove your crown and drill a small hole into your tooth. They will remove any decay and bacteria. Your tooth is sterilized before being resealed. You’ll be fitted with a new crown to protect your tooth.

If you delay your retreatment, the issue will progress until your tooth may no longer be salvageable. Therefore, it will need to be removed and replaced with a prosthetic. Treating tooth loss is more costly than root canal retreatment. 

You can avoid future complications by committing to good oral hygiene at home. Pay close attention when cleaning where your crown meets your gum line. Limit sugary and starchy foods to prevent tooth decay. Visit your dentist every 6 months for a cleaning and checkup.

About Dr. Stephen Dean

Dr. Dean earned his dental degree from the Medical University of South Carolina and has spent countless hours continuing his education in various specialties, including dental implants, sleep apnea, and TMJ treatment. He is affiliated with several professional organizations, including the American Dental Association. Request an appointment through his website or call his office at (470) 441-8475.

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