With proper care, teeth that have had endodontic treatment can be preserved on the arch for a long time, but it is also possible for these teeth to heal improperly, with the appearance of painful manifestations months or even years after treatment.
If this happens with treated teeth, you have a second chance to save the tooth with a retreatment.
An additional procedure may lessen the pain or discomfort of the tooth and stimulate healing. If you suspect that a tooth that has previously had endodontic treatment requires retreatment, visit your dentist or endodontist for an evaluation.
As with any dental or medical procedure, the tooth may not heal as expected after the initial treatment for several reasons, including:
– The presence of additional root canals with a different anatomy that were not detected and treated initially
– Delay in placing a protective crown on the tooth
Saliva contamination at the time of root canal filling due to poor isolation
– An infection caused by new damage, a damaged crown or filling exposing the tooth to bacteria
– The appearance of cracks or fractures
When you opted for initial root canal treatment, your dentist probably explained to you that the only other treatment option would be tooth extraction. Now that you’re experiencing pain in that tooth, depending on the cause, your endodontist may suggest either retreatment of the tooth or endodontic surgery, which involves making an incision at the tip of the tooth root to surgically remove the infected portion. This procedure is called an apical resection. Besides endodontic treatment or surgery, the only other alternative is extraction of the tooth.
The procedure of endodontic retreatment of a tooth consists of removing the old root filling, cleaning the canals and permeabilizing those that were not discovered during the first endodontic procedure. Periapical infection, if present, will also be removed. All canals will be filled up to the apex level, without exceeding it, with a root canal paste.
Every situation is different, but your dentist will give you personalized post-operative instructions to follow, and your recovery time may be slightly longer if you have had endodontic surgery. You may be given painkillers and anti-inflammatories as directed by your doctor to reduce any pain and discomfort that may occur. If the pain is severe and does not subside with medication, it is important to contact your doctor immediately.
To observe the progress of your treatment, your doctor will schedule a consultation 7 days after the procedure. The swelling and pain should disappear within two weeks; however, it is important to schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible to cover the treated tooth with either a crown or a crown filling.
Advances in dental technology are happening every day, and endodontics is no exception. So, when you decide to redo endodontic treatment, your dentist may use techniques that were not available when you originally had root canal treatment.