When do I need a root canal retreatment?
A root canal retreatment is needed when the tooth does not heal as expected after initial root canal treatment. Occasionally, the tooth can become painful or diseased months or even years after successful root canal therapy. If your tooth has not healed or has developed new problems, you have a second chance at saving your tooth through the root canal retreatment.
As with any dental or medical procedures, occasionally, a tooth may fail to heal following the initial treatment for several reasons: the final restoration was delayed following endodontic treatment; narrow or curved canals were not treated in full during the first treatment; complicated canal anatomy went undetected in the first treatment; the placement of the crown or other restoration was delayed following the endodontic treatment; the restoration did not prevent salivary contamination to the inside of the tooth (human saliva is full of bacteria that can cause disease if they find their way into the root canal system). In addition, new decay or fracture in the tooth, defective crown or delay in fitting the crown after primary root treatment can expose the tooth to new infection.
Advancements are constantly changing the way root canal treatment is performed, so together with our expertise we use new technologies and techniques that were probably not available when you had the first root canal treatment.
Why have I been referred to a specialist?
Specialist Endodontist is a dentist who specialises in saving teeth. Endodontists receive three or more years of advanced education in Endodontics following general dentistry school. As a result of the specialist training, endodontists are skilled in finding the cause of oral and facial pain, treating traumatic injuries to the tooth, diagnosing cracked tooth and performing other procedures that save teeth.
As endodontists, limiting our practice solely to endodontic treatment, we perform routine as well as difficult and very complex procedures, including root canal treatment, root canal retreatment and endodontic microsurgery. We use the most advanced technology in the field and we are therefore most efficient and precise. This equates to positive experiences and faster healing. We offer tremendous flexibility in accommodating emergency cases, so delays in treatment are kept to a minimum and patients can be relieved of dental pain quickly. We are also readily available for post-treatment questions or concerns.
What happens during retreatment?
Endodontic retreatment usually can be completed in one appointment, depending on the condition of your tooth and your personal circumstances. We use local anesthesia in your tooth area and only start the treatment when we are sure you are fully numb. A non-latex protective shield called dental rubber dam is placed to isolate your tooth to keep it clean and dry during the procedure, avoiding further contamination. An opening in the crown is made and with the help of a dental microscope we locate the canals and the root filling material. In many cases, complex restorative materials like crowns and posts must be disassembled and removed to permit access to the root canals. After removing the canal filling, a search for any additional canal, hidden fracture or unusual anatomy that requires treatment is thoroughly done before cleaning, shaping and disinfecting the canals. The canals are then filled with a biocompatible material and a temporary filling is placed over the access opening to protect your roots from being exposed or contaminated until you return to your general dentist for your final restoration.
Will the treatment be painful?
A local anaesthesia is used and we also take every measure to ensure that your procedure is in no way uncomfortable or painful. For most patients, the feeling of numbness usually subsides after 2-3 hours. It is normal for teeth to be sore for a few days after root canal treatment. Some teeth, particularly ones that have been problematic for a while, may take a few months to settle. This discomfort is normally from the inflamed supporting tissues.
Do I need to see my dentist after a root canal retreatment?
When your root canal therapy has been completed, a record of your treatment will be sent to the dentist who referred you. We advise you return to your general dentist between two to six weeks after your root canal treatment is completed to have your final restoration done unless advised differently by us. This amount of time will allow most of your tenderness to subside before having further procedures done on your tooth. If your tooth does not get the necessary final restoration (crown or filling) and the temporary filling wears out, the root canal will become infected and need retreatment, microsurgery or extraction.
The final restoration is either a filling or a crown and will be placed to protect your tooth from fracture and further contamination and restore your tooth to its full function. As the unrestored tooth is susceptible to fracture, please do not chew or bite on the treated tooth until you have it restored by your dentist.