Endodontic therapy has a very high degree of success — up to 95% will heal with no further endodontic treatment required. Most endodontically treated teeth last as long as other teeth. In a few cases, however, a tooth that has undergone endodontic treatment may not heal and may potenially become painful or diseased a few months, or even years, after successful treatment. Often, a repeat of the endodontic procedure can save the tooth. We always discuss the chances of success with you before any endodontic procedure to help you make an informed decision.
There are a variety of causes for failed root canals:
1. Narrow or curved canals that were not treated during the initial procedure.
- Complicated canal anatomy that went undetected and untreated in the first procedure.
- The placement of the crown or other restoration was delayed following the endodontic treatment.
- The restoration did not seal properly in order to prevent salivary contamination of the inside of the tooth.
2. In other cases, a new problem can jeopardize a tooth that was successfully treated. For example:
- New decay can expose the root canal filling to bacteria, causing a new infection in the tooth.
- The loose, cracked, or broken crown or filling can expose the tooth to new infection.
- The tooth develops a fracture.
If root canal re-treatment is necessary, Dr. Raymond, will provide advanced anesthesia to get your tooth profoundly numb. While working with his assistant under a microscope, he will make a hole in the biting surface of the tooth to gain access to the root canal filling material. This old canal filling material will be removed in order for Dr. Raymond to properly investigate the tooth under the microscope. If no crack is detected, he re-clean and shape all the canals, and most importantly, find and clean any previously missed canals that are the likely cause of the original root canal failure. Once cleaned, Dr. Raymond will re-fill the canals and place a hard restoration in the tooth to further seal off the root canal system from the oral cavity. At this point, you will need to return to your dentist as soon as possible in order to have a new crown, or other restoration, placed on the tooth to restore full functionality.