Root Canal Retreatment

Root canal treatment may not be successful after they are performed for a variety of reasons. The tooth may become re-infected if the root canal is not properly instrumented and free of all bacteria and infected dentin. Also, a filling or crown may get recurrent decay, and this can re-infect the tooth.

Repeating root canal treatment is a more involved and difficult process, and is also more time consuming. The dentist has to first remove the crown and post, if one is present, and all of the root canal filling material in the pulp chamber and root canal. This adds extra expense and costs the patient more money.

Occasionally, it is too difficult to perform an additional root canal on the same tooth. It could be too difficult to remove the crown and post, and injury to the tooth may result. Due to this, your dentist may decide to perform tooth canal surgery, or refer you to an endodontist for this surgery. Root canal surgery will give your dentist accessibility to the root(s) of the tooth by creating an access hole though the oral bone. This way the crown and post is not disturbed.

This procedure, an apicoectomy, is performed in the dental office. The area to be worked on is anaesthetized and your dentist will make a small access hole through your gum and bone next to the tooth being treated. The infected tissue will then be removed along with the tip of the root. Your dentist or endodontist will remove any infection from the root and then use special instruments to fill the root from the bottom. Sutures are then placed in the gum tissue to close the incision.

Root canal surgery usually has an 85 percent success rate. If this does not resolve the problem, the tooth will require extraction and replacement with an artificial tooth.