While root canal treatment offers an extremely high success rate, some patients have an endodontically treated tooth that fails to heal, or is causing pain, months or even years after successful treatment. When this occurs, the tooth may often be saved by root canal retreatment.
Why a Second Root Canal is Needed
There are several reasons that a tooth may not heal after initial root canal treatment. For starters, the anatomic structure of the tooth’s canal system can make treatment difficult; narrow or curved canals may go undetected. Next, tooth trauma can cause the root to fracture, which can cause an infection or cyst. Finally, new decay can expose the root canal filling material to bacteria, causing a new infection in the tooth. This can be the result of a loose, cracked, or broken crown or filling.
About Root Canal Retreatment
With root canal retreatment, Dr. Lennan Masterson gently reopens the canal and removes the infection. The canals are then sterilized and refilled with warm gutta-percha using the vertical compaction technique. In some cases, restorative material such as crowns and posts need to be removed in order to get to the root canal. Dr. Lennan Masterson will always try to preserve the original crown, if possible. If she determines that your existing crown is sealed and functioning properly, a small hole will be drilled in the crown that can later be restored by your general dentist. For patients who have complex curved canals or blockage in the canals Dr. Lennan Masterson may recommend root end surgery, also known as an apicoectomy.