Oftentimes, a tooth that has had a root canal will last you for a lifetime without needing any additional work. However, there are some instances when even a root canaled tooth may need re-treatment. A new infection, a canal of the root that wasn’t properly cleaned or filled or leaking filling material through a crack may require full re-treatment. Root canal re-treatment is identical to the initial procedure, but the old filling material is removed prior to starting over again.
While rare, re-treatment of a root canal is incredibly important to the health of the tooth. It can help to prevent full extraction of the tooth, preserving vital structure and saving your smile. Some reasons why you’d need re-treatment include:
- A new infection is present underneath the filling material or around the base of the tooth
- The filling material has leaked through a crack in the root of the tooth
- There was a hidden canal that was never treated initially
- You have thin, curved roots that made it hard to perform a routine root canal
- You failed to have a crown placed after the initial root canal
- Saliva and bacteria was able to get inside the tooth during the initial root canal
To determine if root canal re-treatment is needed, we will take x-rays and examine your tooth. In many cases, we can detect a problem with a typical exam as well as comprehensive x-ray imaging. If it’s found that you need re-treatment, we recommend having it done as soon as possible. This will prevent further damage and infection to the tooth and the underlying bone.
Re-treatment begins by administering a local anesthetic to numb the area. We then remove the old filling material above the tooth as well as inside the root’s canals. We will remove any infection at this time, if it’s present. We carefully clean the canals and re-fill them similarly to a typical root canal. A new filling is placed over the tooth. It is important that you have a dental crown placed as soon as possible after having root canal re-treatment.
If you suspect that you need root canal re-treatment, call us today and we will be happy to get you in for a conveniently scheduled appointment.