Endodontic Retreatment

What is Endodontic Retreatment?

With the appropriate care, teeth that have had endodontic treatment will last as long as other natural teeth. However, a tooth that has received treatment may fail to heal, or pain may continue to exist. Sometimes, the pain may occur months or years after treatment. If so, Endodontic Retreatment may be needed.

Improper healing may be caused by:

  • Curved or narrow canals were not treated during the initial treatment.
  • Complicated canals went undetected during the initial treatment.
  • The crown or restoration was not placed within the appropriate amount of time following the procedure.
  • The crown or restoration did not prevent bacteria from contaminating the inside of the tooth.

In some cases, new problems can influence a tooth that was successfully treated:

  • New decay can expose a root canal filling material, causing infection.
  • A cracked or loose filling or crown can expose the tooth to a new infection.

Once retreatment has been selected as a solution to your problem, the doctor will reopen your tooth to gain access to the root canal filling material. The old restorative (filling) material and any decay will be removed to ensure there is only sound tooth structure remaining. After access to the pulp chamber and root canals, the doctor will remove all of the previous contaminated and failing obturation (root filling) material. This is absolutely necessary in order to allow the total cleaning of the canal surfaces and their porosities. At this time we are also able to carefully examine the inside of the problematic tooth and again check for any fractures or abnormalities which may affect the tooth's prognosis.

 Once the inside of the root canals are cleaned, the doctor will fill and seal (obturate) the canals with gutta-percha and a dental bioceramic sealer (cement). At this time, a permanent buildup is bonded to replace the missing tooth structure. Oftentimes, your referring dentist will prefer a temporary filling as they may desire to restore themselves.

At this point, after the completion of the endodontic therapy, you will need to return to your dentist as soon as possible in order to have a new crown or restoration placed on the tooth to restore it to full functionality.

New trauma, deep decay, or a loose, cracked, or broken filling can cause a new infection in your tooth. In some cases, the endodontist may discover additional very narrow or curved canals that could not be treated during the initial procedure.

We recommend that you call your restorative dentist the same week, post-treatment, to make your follow-up appointment. Dentists' schedules tend to book quickly. It is recommended that you have your permanent restoration placed as soon as possible. This step is imperative for the long-term prognosis of your tooth.

Dr. Cutbirth will discuss the properties of any temporary filling he places. The temporary is designed to seal and not allow ingress of pathogenic bacteria. 

Timely follow up with your general dentist is crucial for a permanent restoration. Not following up can allow your temporary filling to leak, thus contaminating your newly completed root canal therapy. Call your dentist the same week (post-treatment) and get on their books for the completion of your restoration. It's that simple, and it puts you on the right road to retaining your tooth for a lifetime.