What is Endodontic retreatment?
While endodontic treatments, commonly known as root canals, are intended to last a lifetime, sometimes it’s not possible to prevent future problems. There is always a small chance that the treated tooth will experience further trauma, decay, or other changes that might require endodontic retreatment at some point. The good news is that it is often possible to save the tooth, despite the fact that treatment has been performed on that tooth in the past. So how does endodontic retreatment involve, and what should you expect should you need a second procedure? If you need a retreatment plan, our Miami dental specialists refer our patients to a specialized and trained Endodontist.
Signs of Needing Endodontic Retreatment
Unfortunately, teeth do not always heal as expected from a root canal. Pain, further decay, and tooth disease can all occur, sometimes within a few months, but sometimes not for several years. Other reasons for retreatment are as diverse as a loose or broken crown, tooth fracture, or undetected canal abnormalities. This is why it is so crucial to keep up with regular dental and hygiene cleanings and to keep a close eye on the treated tooth so you can spot any kind of trouble before it becomes more serious. Pain in a treated tooth, of course, is an obvious indicator that you should speak with your endodontist as soon as possible to see whether or not you will need retreatment.
Is Retreatment the Best Choice?
If you’re facing problems with your tooth following a previous root canal, it’s understandable to feel skeptical about trying a retreatment procedure. However, it is always best to save your tooth if possible, avoiding the need for other options, such as single-tooth implants. Retreatment is often a very good option, but the success of any treatment depends on a variety of factors, which you will discuss with your endodontist before deciding on a course of treatment.
If a root canal retreatment is not likely to solve the problems, an endodontist may recommend other options, such as endodontic surgery. Endodontic surgery allows the endodontist to access the tip of the tooth root surgically, which may also be done alongside retreatment. It all depends on the cause and severity of your tooth’s problems.
What to Expect During Retreatment
Endodontic retreatment without surgery is very similar to the initial root canal procedure, and can usually be done with our sedation dentistry options. First, the tooth is isolated with a dental dam (rubber sheet). The crown is removed so the endodontist can access the inside of the tooth and correct any problems.
The old root canal filling will be removed, and the endodontist will inspect the canals for signs of decay and bacteria that may be causing infection and discomfort. The canals will be cleaned and inspected for any abnormalities in the shape of the canals that might be preventing the infection from healing properly.
Just as with the initial procedure, the canals will be re-filled with resin and an adhesive cement to prevent bacteria and decay from entering the tooth. Retreatment may also be combined with endodontic surgery, which involves further steps and recovery instructions.
A temporary filling will be put in place during the healing period, and the crown to restore the tooth to normal will be put in place by your dentist several weeks later. Your doctor will give you detailed instructions for caring for the tooth after the treatment.
Proper care of your teeth following retreatment will help your restoration last for many years, if not for the rest of your life. Follow all of your endodontist’s instructions carefully, and avoid chewing with your treated tooth until the crown is put in place. Once the tooth has healed and the crown has been installed, you should be able to care for the tooth as normal, with simple brushing, flossing, and regular visits to your dentist for checkups and cleanings.
How Much Will the Procedure Cost?
Endodontic retreatment is often a highly complex procedure, typically more difficult than the initial procedure, and sometimes requiring accompanying procedures such as endodontic surgery. As with most dental procedures, the costs will depend on a number of different factors. If the tooth restoration needs to be dismantled and replaced, this will typically be more expensive. The type of tooth requiring treatment will also be a factor, as molars are typically more difficult to treat than other teeth.
Each endodontist charges their own fees, but it’s important to choose a specialist who will help you save your teeth for a lifetime. Before your procedure, you will discuss costs and get options for financing your procedure. Some dental insurance will cover retreatment, but it’s important to be knowledgeable about your policy before you proceed.
Alternatives to Retreatment
Retreatment is one of the best options available, as the only alternative to the treatment is extraction of the diseased tooth. Once the tooth is extracted, it must be fully replaced with a dental implant, bridge, or partial dentures to restore former function. Whenever possible, it tends to be cheaper and more convenient to save the natural tooth via endodontic retreatment.