Our authors have taken the opportunity to share their first hand experience in the dental chair with you.
Personal experiences with root canal retreatments.
Published by: iLL
There is nothing that can perform or feel better than your natural tooth, and that's why a dentist or Endodontist will do whatever they can to save a tooth before recommending an extraction. I guess there's dental saying, 'If a root canal fails, try again.'. That's pretty much the point of a root canal re-treatment is to attempt to resolve the problem with a re-treatment in the event something was missed or overlooked during the initial root canal procedure.
It might work, it might not.
In my opinion this is a tricky situation for any patient as well as the dental professional. Theres no guarantees in dentistry. You have to remember the original root canal was not successful so the re-treatment puts more pressure on the dental professional to find the source of pain or problem. Is your tooth fractured or cracked? Are there holes in the tooth that expose the gingiva (gum tissue)? Maybe the tooth has an infection. All of these things will be considered when looking for the source of the pain. I've personally had 4 root canal re-treatments and only one tooth had to be extracted. In my case, statistically the success rate is 75%. At the time of writing this article, I still have one more tooth that needs a re-treatment.
How far are you willing to go?
I personally had a root canal done not once or twice but THREE times before I finally nailed a successful outcome. Keep in mind nobody can force you to extract a tooth. Nobody can force you to get an implant. You have control of your teeth and it really depends on how determined and how far your willing to go to try saving a tooth. For example, I've had a dentist perform a root canal and two-three weeks later it was still extremely painful. I then completed a re-treatment and again, two weeks later it was still very painful. I wasn't going to give up so easily, I researched and found a new dentist and scheduled another re-treatment and finally the tooth was saved!
There are certain situations where I'll say "Okay I agree, lets extract the tooth" and then there are situations where ill say "I'd like to try again or get another doctor to try". Personally for me this depends on if there is evidence that shows the tooth needs to be extracted. If a dentist is saying "Strange, I cant find any cracks, fractures or problems with the tooth." then I will not give up so easily, this could mean the tooth can still be saved. Now if a dental professional says "We see a major crack that goes through the entire tooth to the tip" then yeah, I may agree to extract the tooth. For me it really boils down to the evidence.
Tooth with post installed.
One of the most complicated re-treatments is when your root canal has a fiber post installed. When you originally had a root canal your dental professional may have placed a fiber or metal post in the tooth. The function of the post is to strengthen the tooth and provide stability when pressure is applied. There's one downfall, a re-treatment can be a pain in the ass when it involves a dental post. In fact there are many dentists who will refuse re-treatments if the tooth has a post installed. You will have to find a highly trained specialist who has extensive experience with re-treatments when dealing with patients that have a post installed. At the time of writing this article I currently have a root canal with a fiber post installed that will likely either need to be re-treated or extracted.
Worst case outcomes.
I've personally been through some worst case scenarios with re-treatments. Aside from having to extract a tooth because a re-treatment failed; I currently have a tooth with a fiber post installed that needs a re-treatment. So far two dentists and one specialist have refused to attempt a re-treatment due to lack of experience. I was however recommended to a specialist that has extensive experience with post removal and re-treatment. I haven't setup an appointment yet or attempted to resolve this tooth yet due to current ongoing treatments.
This article is written by a dental patient with extensive dental treatment experience. This is for informational and educational purposes only and the publisher does not provide any medical advice.