Root Canal Retreatment
Rainwater & Associates Endodontics in Lafayette, La
Anthony Rainwater, DD, MS
The American Academy of Endodontics reports that nearly 16 million root canal procedures are performed each year in the United States and that approximately 85% are successful. While root canal therapy offers this extremely high success rate, some patients have an endodontically treated tooth that fails to heal — or is causing pain — months or even years after successful treatment. When this occurs, the tooth may often be saved by a root canal retreatment, which Dr. Anthony “Tony” Rainwater performs.
Why Would a Second Root Canal Be Needed
There are several reasons that a tooth may not heal after initial root canal therapy. For starters, the anatomic structure of the tooth’s canal system can make treatment difficult; narrow or curved canals may go undetected. Next, tooth trauma can cause the root to fracture, which can cause an infection or cyst. Finally, new decay can expose the root canal filling material to bacteria and cause a new infection. This can be the result of a loose, cracked or broken crown or filling.
What Happens During Retreatment
With root canal retreatment, Dr. Rainwater gently reopens the canals and removes the infection. He then sterilizes and refills the canals. In many cases, Dr. Rainwater needs to remove restorative materials such as crowns and posts in order get to the root canal. He will always try to preserve the original crown, if possible.
If Dr. Rainwater determines that your existing crown is sealing and functioning properly, he will drill a tiny hole in the crown that can later be restored by your general dentist. For patients who have complex curved canals or blockage in the canals, he may recommend a procedure called apicoectomy.