Endodontics is the branch of dentistry concerning dental pulp
and tissues surrounding the roots of a tooth. “Endo” is the Greek
word for “inside” and “odont” is Greek for “tooth.”
Root Canal Therapy
Dentists and endodontists typically recommend root canal therapy for one of three reasons:
- Decay has reached the tooth pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth)
- An infection or abscess has developed inside the tooth or at the root tip
- Injury or trauma has occurred to the tooth
In order to save the tooth, we remove the pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth), nerves, bacteria, and any decay. We then fill the resulting space with special medicated dental materials, which restore the tooth to its full functionality.
Root canal therapy is highly successful and can last a lifetime, although a tooth will sometimes need to be retreated due to new infections.
Root Canal Retreatment
In rare cases, a root canal may fail to work as expected. This can happen for a number of different reasons:
- Treated tooth may not have healed properly
- A patient might experience post-surgical complications that jeopardize the tooth
Cracked crown or leaking filling material
- Curved or narrow canals not treated during the original procedure.
- New decay to the tooth
- New fracture in the treated tooth
- Saliva entered the restorative structure
- Undetected complex canal structures
A root canal retreatment involves the removal of the previous packing material, cleansing the root canals, re-packing the tooth, and possibly re-crowning. In short, root canal retreatment is almost identical to the original procedure, aside from the structural removal.
WHY A ROOT CANAL RETREATMENT?
For most individuals, root canal retreatment is a better alternative than extraction. 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 “real” tooth.
Though the prospect of more endodontic surgery might not be pleasant, root canal retreatment is fairly simple. In general, the whole treatment can usually be completed in 1-2 visits.