What is Endodontic Retreatment?
Your teeth need appropriate and consistent care, in order to remain in their healthiest condition possible. However, as we age, even the most dedicated and ardent patient could experience a problem with their teeth. It’s just a natural occurrence. So, it’s very common to need a dental procedure at some point in your life.
The same thing is true for the teeth that have already been treated with various procedures. Proper care will contribute in increasing the longevity of the work, but nature will still take its toll on a repaired tooth. It’s also possible that the original treatment may fail to heal properly, leading to continuous pain and discomfort, or falter over time. If so, you are a candidate for Endodontic retreatment. Simply put, doing it again.
However, there are multiple reasons why it might not have healed properly.
Possible Reasons for Improper Healing
There are various explanations for why a treatment did not heal properly. And, an examination will help reveal the reason.
Improper healing may be caused by:
- Curved or narrow canals were not originally detected prior to the initial treatment or procedure.
- Complicated canals were not detected during the first treatment.
- The crown or restoration was not completed within the time typically recommended, preceding the procedure.
- The restoration or crown did not stop all bacteria, discovered in saliva, from contaminating the inner tooth
In some cases, the initial treatment was performed properly, but a new problem arises, such as:
- New decay that develops might uncover an existing root canal filling material, leading to infection within the tooth.
- A crown or filling could break down or crack, exposing the tooth and possibly leading to a new infection.
- A natural tooth could be cracked, become loose, and leave the area vulnerable to infection.
The next step would be to determine what treatment or procedure to have in order to repair the damage.
The Process of Endodontic Retreatment
There will be a consultation with the doctor to determine the best possible treatment or procedure to repair the damage. For example, the doctor will assess your tooth, remove the root canal filling material, then thoroughly clean the canals and carefully analyze the inside of the tooth. After the area is thoroughly cleansed, and deemed healthy for moving on to restoration, the doctor will fill and seal the canal, then place a temporary filling in the tooth.
The next step is to return to see the doctor as soon as the tooth is free of symptoms. At this point, a restoration or new crown is placed on the tooth to bring the tooth back to full functionality.
Is Endodontic Retreatment the Right Choice for Me?
If it’s at all possible, it is always best to save your natural teeth. However, endodontics retreatment has a good reputation for function and longevity. And, nobody should suffer unnecessarily.
Technology has advanced significantly over the years, and continues to steadily advance today. It’s no different with endodontics. The doctor will be able to use the latest techniques of today, which were probably not offered when you had the original work done. It’s also possible that the doctor will be able to resolve the issue without retreatment.
Of course, there are no guarantees with dental work. However, the doctor will discuss all the possible options you have, along with the likelihood of success before you make the decision on moving forward with retreatment.
Is There an Alternative to Endodontic Retreatment or Surgery?
Unfortunately, tooth extraction is the only other viable option. And, that would require replacing the void with a bridge, implant, or a removable partial denture. Without having the tooth replaced, the inability to chew properly could lead to other problems, such as headaches. Replacing the tooth would also help to avoid shifting of the other teeth. In addition, going this route would also be more time consuming and costly than retreatment of the natural tooth.
Even though technology is great, and tooth replacement can be very effective, saving the natural tooth should be the first consideration, if at all possible. The benefit would be a functioning and healthy natural tooth for many years.