Have you ever undergone a root canal hoping the pain you’re experiencing will go away for good, only to find months or years later the same tooth is bothering you? This occurs in many individuals. Sometimes, despite your nerve being removed from your tooth, it doesn’t heal as you expected it to. You continue to experience discomfort long after recovering from your root canal procedure. This is a signal your tooth may require further endodontic retreatment.
With the proper care, after you’ve undergone a root canal treatment with our endodontist, Dr. Robert McBride, DDS at Colorado Root Canal Specialists, your tooth or teeth should last just as long as your other teeth. But, it is possible for a tooth you’ve received a root canal treatment on could fail to heal or you could continue experiencing pain. And, this could last for months or years following your procedure. If so, you might require a root canal retreatment.
Reasons a Root Canal Treatment May Fail
Just like with any other medical or dental procedure, there is the possibility your tooth won’t heal after your initial treatment as you expected for various reasons, including:
You have complicated canal anatomy.
You have curved or narrow canals that weren’t treated during your first procedure.
Your restoration didn’t prevent salivary contamination to your tooth’s inside.
Your crown or other restoration placement was delayed after your endodontic procedure.
You could also experience a new issue that could jeopardize your tooth that was treated successfully, such as:
You have a cracked, loose or broken filling or crown exposing your tooth to new infection.
You have new decay that exposes your root canal filling to bacteria which causes a new infection in your tooth.
Your tooth becomes fractured.
What Occurs During Root Canal Retreatments?
First, Dr. McBride will sit down with you in a consultation to go over your different options of treatment. If you both decide root canal retreatment will benefit you, Dr. McBride will reopen your tooth in order to gain access to your root canal filling material. He’ll then likely have to disassemble and remove the complex restorative materials – post, crown and core material – to gain access to your root canals.
After Dr. McBride removes your canal filling, he’ll then clean your canals and examine the inside of the tooth carefully through the use of magnification and illumination to search for unusual anatomy or additional canals that require treatment.
After he cleans the canals, he’ll fill and seal your canals and proceed to place a temporary filling in your tooth. If you have blocked or unusually narrow canals, he’ll likely suggest endodontic surgery which involves him having to make an incision to enable him to seal the other end of your root.
After Dr. McBride finishes your retreatment, you’ll need to come back to his office as soon as possible so he can place a restoration, like a new crown, on your tooth to restore it to full function and keep it protected.
Is a Root Canal Retreatment My Best Option?
Whenever it’s possible, the best option is for you to save your natural tooth. When your teeth are retreated, they can function well for years, maybe even for a lifetime. Technology advances are constant and techniques are updated often, which Dr. McBride can use for saving your tooth. These advancements might not have been available back during your initial procedure.
If you don’t have the option for non-surgical retreatment, then Dr. McBride might consider endodontic surgery. This involves him having to make an incision to allow access to the end of your roots. This surgery might also be suggested as an alternative to retreatment or in conjunction with it.
Your only other alternative to failing endodontics or root canal retreatments ultimately is tooth extraction. Once extracted, Dr. McBride will then need to replace your tooth with a removable partial denture, an implant, or a bridge to restore aesthetics and chewing function and importantly, to keep your neighboring teeth from shifting. Since these options do require dental procedures or surgery on neighboring healthy teeth, they can become more time consuming and costly than root canal retreatment and natural tooth restoration.
What is the Cost of a Root Canal Retreatment?
The cost of root canal retreatment depends on the complexity of the procedure. The treatment will likely be more complex than your initial root canal procedure since your filling material and restoration might have to be removed in order for Dr. McBride to accomplish the procedure. Also, Dr. McBride might need to spend some additional time searching for abnormal canal anatomy. So, you can typically expect your cost for retreatment to be a little more costly than your initial endodontic treatment, however, your major medical insurance or dental insurance may provide coverage.
Although dental insurance might cover most of or all of your costs for root canal retreatment, some policies will have limited coverage for a single treatment on a tooth in a certain time period. Therefore, it’s important you check with your insurance provider or employer before your retreatment appointment to ensure you’re adequately covered.
You should sit down with Dr. McBride in a consultation to go over all the benefits, risks, and alternatives to root canal retreatments. You’ve already decided to save your tooth and have made the investment. The payoff for deciding on root canal retreatment should be a functional, healthy natural tooth that will last you for years to come.
To discuss if root canal retreatment is an option for you, call Colorado Root Canal Specialist at 303-920-9145 or complete our online form.
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13762 Colorado Blvd #154, Thornton, CO 80602