If you have already experienced a root canal, you no doubt are grateful for the pain relief that it gave you while also allowing you to keep your natural tooth. After all, often the only alternative to a root canal is extraction and a bridge or implant. While modern implants are better than ever, there’s really nothing like keeping your natural teeth. That’s why a retreatment may also sometimes be necessary.
What situations call for a root canal retreatment?
New Decay – Using an x-ray, your dentist may notice new decay that is occurring. Sometimes this occurs when a crown placement is delayed. As a result, the tooth has time to decay further. Reinfection of the root can occur, or continued decay of the tooth.
Reinfection of the Root – Sometimes this is the result of a delay in placing a crown. At other times, some of the infection is in a curved or narrow root canal resulting in a complication of the original procedure.
Original Filling Is Leaking – When the filling leaks, this can allow another infection to spring up. This can also occur if the crown becomes damaged.
Tooth Is Fractured – If a treated tooth becomes fractured, additional treatment becomes necessary.
Tooth Did Not Heal Properly – This can have numerous causes ranging from complications in the size or shape of the root canals to crown and filling issues.
While root canal treatments are successful about 97% of the time, even a successful treatment may spontaneously fail on occasion due to the causes noted above. If this occurs, retreatment can once again successfully save the tooth for many years, often for the rest of a person’s natural life.
Should I Opt for Retreatment if There Is No Pain?
Sometimes your dentist will catch something on an x-ray that you don’t even feel yet. When this is the case, it can be tough to decide to undergo retreatment. However, it is important to remember that by the time pain is felt, a lot of damage is done. For a tooth that has already experienced a root canal procedure, the best chance of saving the tooth is by performing retreatment before the new concern gets worse. While you may not be in pain now, your dentist will only recommend retreatment if an issue is imminent. Waiting for the pain to start may make it too late to save the tooth.
Once again, retreatment only presents one alternative, and that is extraction. That means that if the conditions above present themselves, retreatment is the best option.