Endodontic Treatment and Retreatment
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Root Canal Treatment, also known as Endodontic Treatment, is a procedure that allows a damaged or
unhealthy tooth to be saved for future use and function, rather than extracted or removed.
Let's briefly give an overview of the procedure. First, a careful examination of the tooth is made to assess
the need for the procedure and the future prognosis of the tooth. To begin the procedure, local anesthetic is
administered and any decay is removed. An opening or access is made into the inside of the tooth (termed the pulp chamber), and all diseased or infected matter is removed with the use of very small, delicate instruments (root canal files) The root canals are usually washed out repeatedly with disinfectant solutions, and the size of the canals are increased or enlarged from the pulp chamber to virtually the end of the root, using the root canal files. Once the canals are carefully enlarged and cleansed,
a rubbery, inert root canal filling material along with a cementing substance are placed to seal the canal and to prevent future bacterial invasion. This work may be accomplished in one or two visits, but very complicated or unusual cases may require additional appointments. Once the Root Canal Treatment is completed, it is very important to see your general dentist PROMPTLY
to have the tooth properly restored (1-4 weeks after completion). The endodontist who performs the Root Canal Treatment will seal the access opening with a temporary material, which is just that, temporary.
Should the tooth not be promptly restored, re-infection of the root canals or worse, fracture, can occur, which may not allow the tooth to be saved.
As with any other medical or dental procedures, there are no guarantees. Occasionally, a tooth that has been treated will not heal. Sometimes, a tooth which has an apparently successful root canal treatment may become painful or diseased years later. Should these conditions occur, an additional endodontic procedure can often save the tooth. However, most endodontically treated teeth last as long as other natural teeth, and no replacement is as good as your natural tooth.
With proper care, most teeth that have had endodontic (root canal) treatment can last as long as other natural teeth. In some instances, however, a tooth that has endodontic treatment fails to heal.
Sometimes a tooth may become painful or diseased months or even years after apparently successful treatment.
In these cases, you have a second chance to retain the tooth. Another procedure, endodontic retreatment may save the tooth.
Here is what will occur in a typical endodontic retreatment situation. First, the doctor will examine the tooth and then discuss treatment options. If you choose retreatment, the doctor will reopen the tooth to gain access to the root canals. In some cases, the restorative materials in the tooth crown - post and core material must be disassembled to permit access to the canals. Next, the old root canal filling materials are removed, and the canals are carefully examined and cleaned. Also, the doctor
will search for additional canals, unusual anatomy, or cracks or fractures in the tooth. Once the canals are cleaned, the doctor will then fill and seal the canals, and place a temporary filling in the tooth. Upon completion of the retreatment, you will need to see your dentist as soon as possible to have a new crown or other restoration placed on the tooth to protect it and restore it to full function.
As with any medical or dental procedures, there are no guarantees. Advances in technology are occurring all the time, and are changing the way root canal treatments are done, so the doctor may use techniques not available when you had your previous procedure.Should nonsurgical endodontic retreatment not be an option, endodontic surgery should be considered.This procedure involves making an incision in the gum tissue to allow access to the tip of the root or roots of the tooth. Endodontic surgery
may be recommended in conjuction with or as an alternative to retreatment.
Finally, there are some cases for which no treatment to try to save the tooth can be done, and the tooth must be removed. The extracted tooth should be replaced with a bridge, dental implant, or removable partial denture to restore function and appearances.
No matter how effective tooth replacements are, nothing is as good as your natural tooth.
Choosing retreatment can result in a healthy, functioning tooth for many years