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4 Things You Need To Know About Endodontic Retreatment

When your teeth become seriously decayed, the innermost part of the tooth, the pulp, can be exposed to bacteria. The pulp can then become infected, necessitating a root canal treatment. During this procedure, the infected pulp is removed and replaced with a new filling. This procedure isn't always effective, so in the months or years that follow your root canal treatment, your dentist may tell you that you need to have the procedure done again. Here's what you need to know about endodontic retreatment.

Why do root canal treatments fail?

There are many things that can cause a root canal treatment to fail. One of the major factors is whether or not a permanent restoration, like a crown, was placed on the tooth after the root canal. Teeth that don't receive any type of restoration are more likely to fail later. Teeth that are used to anchor bridges or removable dentures are also less likely to have a successful root canal treatment.

The condition of the tooth before the root canal treatment was performed also plays a role. Teeth that were severely decayed or infected before the treatment are less likely to be successfully treated than teeth that weren't in such bad shape.

The treatment can also fail if it wasn't performed properly, for example, if not all of the infected pulp tissue was removed from your tooth. Dentists try their best to remove all of the pulp tissue, but it's hard to get all of the pulp out of the narrow canals in the roots, so some can get left behind. An inexperienced dentist may also miss pulp tissue, so for your retreatment, make sure to choose a dentist with a lot of experience doing root canal treatments.

How often does this happen?

Root canal treatments are not always successful. A recent study followed 174 teeth that had been treated with this procedure over a period of more than 8 years; the goal of the study was to figure out how frequently root canal treatments fail. The study found that 27% of the teeth eventually suffered this failure. On average, these root canal treatments lasted for just over 7 years before they failed.

What happens during endodontic retreatment?

The procedure will be similar to what you had done during your first root canal treatment. Your dentist will remove the artificial filling from the inside of your tooth, and remove any traces of pulp tissue that were left behind after the first procedure. The inside of your tooth will then be washed out with either water or sodium hypochlorite to remove the last traces of debris. Once the inside of your tooth is completely cleaned out, it will be filled once more with artificial filling.

What happens if the retreatment fails?

If the retreatment fails, you won't need to have a third root canal treatment, due to the concern that the third treatment will fail as well. In this situation, you'll need to have a more invasive procedure, an apicoectomy. This is a surgical procedure that removes both the infected tissue at the base of your tooth and the tips of the tooth roots. Only a few millimetres of the tooth roots will be removed, so your teeth will still be firmly held in place. Once the tips are removed, your dentist will clean the ends of the roots and then seal them to protect them from further infection.

Root canal treatments don't always work, and when this happens, they need to be repeated. If you had a root canal treatment in the past and think the same tooth might be infected again, you need to see your dentist right away. For more information, contact a local dental clinic like Sidney Harbour Dental Center