What Is Endodontic Retreatment? And Other Frequently Asked Questions

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If you've ever had a root canal, you may have heard about endodontic retreatments for patients who have complications or infections. Knowing what an endodontic retreatment is and the warning signs of needing an endodontic retreatment can help you get the kind of dental care you need in order to take care of your teeth and increase your level of comfort.

What is endodontic retreatment?

Endodontic retreatment is a procedure that is carried out on a tooth that has previously had a root canal procedure. Retreatments are performed when the tissues inside the canal becomeĀ­ infected. As with a root canal procedure, retreatments involve removal of the previous crown and filling material inside the tooth, treatment of the infection, and then reattachment of the crown. Retreatments are, in other words, a lot like the original root canal procedure.

How many visits does it take to complete an endodontic retreatment?

Like a root canal, endodontic retreatment is generally completed in more than one visit because the crown must be removed, then it must be cleaned and the infection treated, and finally it must be filled and the permanent crown must be placed over the filling. How many visits it takes to clean out your canals and rid your gums of the infection will depend on the severity of your problem.

What can cause an endodontic retreatment to be necessary?

Endodontic retreatments become necessary when the original root canal fails. This can happen months or even years after the original procedure. Reasons for a retreatment include:

  • Some of the canals inside the tooth were not filled when the original root canal took place. This can occur when the canal is sharply curved, or when the canal is very small and goes undetected.
  • Contamination from saliva during the procedure caused bacteria to harbor inside the canal.
  • The crown became cracked, broken or fractured in such a way that bacteria seeped into the canal.
  • Decay in the tooth allowed bacterial contamination of the filling material inside the tooth.

What are the signs that you need an endodontic retreatment? The most obvious warning sign that you need an endodontic retreatment is pain in the affected tooth. This can be a dull, throbbing pain or a sharp, disabling pain. Like with the original infection, you may not always be able to tell where the pain originates or which tooth is having a problem. Either way, once you start to experience tooth pain, you should have your endodontist inspect your teeth. He or she can tell you whether or not you need an endodontic retreatment.

If you are experiencing tooth pain, contact your endodontist right away. He or she can evaluate your dental problem and tell you whether or not you need an endodontic retreatment. Click here for more information about endodontics.