What does revision (repeated treatment) mean in connection with existing root canal treatments?

Even if a tooth has been treated in root canal treatment, this tooth might still become reinfected. The patient will usually notice returning dull pain, and the general feeling will be that “something is not right.”

More often than not the tooth in question is not the cause of pain or other such effects. Moreover the inflammation may not be visible until the area is looked at in an X-ray. The area affected, the root apices, will show on the X-ray as a dark spot.


Complications following root treatment: This is when will revision be necessary

If, following root treatment, bacteria have remained in the canal system or if they have returned after the treatment, renewed inflammation may be the result. This is when renewed treatment, retreatment, is necessary. Common causes may include:

  • Canals have been overlooked or they have not been treated in their entirety, i.e. in their entire length or breadth
  • Cleaning out the canal system could not be done sufficiently due to the complex anatomy of the patient’s root canal
  • Tooth decay, untight fillings or late treatment with a crown may have resulted in bacteria entering the root canal system for a second time eingedrungen

How is a revision carried out?

In the event of renewed inflammation we removed the previous root filling in its entirety, and we will clean out thoroughly the entire root system, including any root canals that might have been overlooked. Following this filling and sealing are done as was the case during your first treatment.

Retreatment is more complex and lengthy than your primary root canal treatment since the old root filling, remaining tissue and maybe even foreign materials (e.g. bits of broken off tools) will need to be removed. If retreatment is not as successful as we would have desired, apicoectomy is the last option we have. If it becomes clear that the inflammation in the posterior tooth is going away, the retreated tooth should be replaced with a prosthesis.

Success rates for retreatment, meaning when root canal treatment is repeated, are around 60 to 85 % on average. During your initial treatment we will give you an estimate of the likeliness of success for your individual treatment of your own tooth.


Revision of a root canal treatment


More Questions?

There are still open questions about root canal treatment that you would like to have answered? We have put together a questionnaire around the topic!

FAQs: Root Canal treatment

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