Root Canal Retreatment
In rare cases, root canal therapy fails to work as expected. The treated tooth
might not heal properly or a patient might experience post-surgical
complications that jeopardize the tooth. Root canal retreatment involves the
removal of the previous crown and packing material, the cleansing of the root
canals, and the re-packing and re-crowning of the tooth. In short, root canal
retreatment is almost identical to the original procedure, aside from the
structural removal. The success rate for a root canal retreatment runs at
Root canal treatments and retreatments are a better alternative than
extraction for most individuals. If a tooth has good bone support, a solid
surface and healthy gums beneath it, it stands a good chance of being saved.
Opting for root canal retreatment can be far less expensive than the
alternatives. Dental implants, extensive bridgework and the creation of
aesthetically pleasing prosthetic teeth cost far more than working with the
natural tooth. They also require maintenance and feel less natural than a
Why is root canal retreatment required?
Though the prospect of more endodontic surgery might not be pleasant, root
canal retreatment is fairly simple. In general, the whole treatment can be
completed in 1-3 visits.
There are a number of reasons why root canal therapy unexpectedly fails,
- Cracked crown leaking filling material.
- Curved or narrow canals not treated during the original procedure.
Delay in the placement of restorative devices following the procedure.
- New decay to the tooth.
- New fracture in the treated tooth.
- Saliva entering the restorative structure.
- Undetected complex canal structures.
What does root canal retreatment involve?
On the day of the retreatment procedure a local anesthetic will be
administered, unless another type of anesthetic has been selected. The
affected tooth is isolated with a rubber dam. The dam protects the tooth
during treatment from bacteria and saliva. The amount the dentist can do
within a single appointment will much depend on the amount of inflammation
present, and the complexity of the treatment.
The first step in a root canal retreatment is to gain access to the inner
tooth. If a crown and post have been placed, these will be removed.
Next, filling material and obstructions that block the root canals will be
removed. This removal is conducted using an ultrasonic handpiece. The
advantage of using this tool is that any unwanted material is vibrated loose.
Tiny instruments will then be used to clean and reshape the root canals.
X-rays may be taken to ensure that the roots are thoroughly clean. If this
part of the treatment proves to be complex, medicated packing material will be
applied, and the rest of the cleansing procedure will be done at the next
When the dentist is confident that the root canals are completely clean,
gutta-percha is used to pack the space. This rubbery material seals the canals
to prevent bacterial invasion. Finally, a temporary crown or filling is
applied to tooth. At a later date, the color-matched permanent crown will be
If you have any questions or concerns about root canal retreatment, please ask