Dental Tips Blog

Dec
19

Retreating a Root Canal

Posted in Root Canals

Root canal therapy is one of the last available treatments to preserve and restore a tooth with severe decay or infection. A typical root canal procedure involves removing the infected nerve tissue from inside of the crown and the nerve canal that extends through the root(s), and placing a filling material into the tooth before covering it with a permanent crown. In rare situations, a root canal treatment can fail, requiring re-treatment in order to protect the tooth. Unless the root canal is re-treated, the tooth can cause aches, pain, or be lost completely.

An endodontic specialist often performs retreatment of a root canal, as it requires precision and great patience to remove the old material and determine what caused it to fail in the first place. During the procedure, the permanent crown is removed or an access point is created through the chewing surface. Then any materials from inside of the tooth are removed, the tip of the root is accessed and care is given to the area that is still experiencing infection. This may be due to the entire root not being treated during the initial root canal therapy, or even a crack in the tooth. Sometimes, instead of going back through the top of the tooth, an access point is made through the side of the gum tissue, so that the root tip can be treated or removed without affecting the rest of the tooth. This type of treatment is called an apicoectomy.

Putting off a root canal re-treatment can allow small areas of infected bone or tooth to become larger, jeopardizing the tooth or surrounding oral structures. Routine radiographs and in office testing can help identify these conditions before they become problematic.

Posted on behalf of Dan Myers

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