Endodontic retreatment is essentially a repeat root canal. Most of the time one root canal is all that is needed to restore a tooth. But in rare cases a tooth that has already been treated with a root canal will need to have another, which is referred to as endodontic retreatment.
If your dentist or endodontist has recommended endodontic retreatment for one or more of your teeth, you may have some questions about the procedure. Is endodontic retreatment painful? What does the procedure entail? How long will it take to recover? Learn the answers to these questions and more.
What is a Root Canal?
When a tooth is infected or at risk of infection, a root canal procedure can be done to treat the tooth. A root canal involves making a small hole in the crown of the tooth in order to access the inner chamber of the tooth, called the root canal. The root canal contains dental pulp, which is soft tissue containing blood vessels and nerves that are integral in the development of the tooth. If bacteria invades the root canal, the pulp can become infected. The best way to treat the tooth is to remove the pulp and all of the infected tissue, then replace it with a rubbery filling. A crown is then placed over the remaining tooth enamel.
What is Endodontic Retreatment?
The procedure for endodontic retreatment is similar to the original root canal procedure. The crown or filling will be removed to access the root canal. The previously placed filling material will be removed as well as any remaining dental pulp. An endodontic microscope is used to inspect the root canal and locate any and all chambers within the tooth. The tooth is carefully refilled to ensure that every open space is filled, leaving no room for reinfection. The crown is then placed back over the tooth or a new crown is created if necessary.
Is the Procedure Painful?
During both the original root canal procedure and endodontic retreatment, local anesthesia is used to numb the tooth and the tissue around it to ensure that you feel no pain. The myth that root canals are painful is just that, a myth. Most patients find that a root canal or endodontic retreatment is similar to a routine cavity filling.
Once the local anesthesia wears off, you may feel a little tenderness in the area of the tooth that was treated. It should be manageable with over the counter pain medication and will likely subside in just a few days.
Why is Endodontic Retreatment Necessary?
Ideally, a root canal will restore a tooth in just one procedure. However, in some cases a tooth can become reinfected after a root canal. This can occur for a few different reasons:
- New decay or damage. A tooth may develop a new cavity or a crack in the enamel or root, allowing bacteria to enter the root canal and reinfect the tooth.
- Complex root canal system. The root canal of a tooth may have a variety of chambers and canals that are difficult to see and access. If any area is missed during the first root canal, the infection may persist and require endodontic retreatment.
- The crown or filling has loosened. After a root canal a filling can be applied to fill the hole made to access the dental pulp. In most cases a crown will be placed over the remaining tooth enamel. If the filling or crown becomes loose, bacteria may get underneath and reinfect the tooth.
Cragun Endodontics Provides Endodontic Retreatment
If you have a tooth that’s in need of endodontic retreatment, trust Cragun Endodontics to provide a permanent solution. Dr. Cragun has the expertise and technology to ensure your tooth is thoroughly treated and protected from future infection.