I had a root canal 3 years ago that just recently starting bothering me again. Before I could make it back to the endodontist, half of my face was swollen and the tooth in question was throbbing\hurting worse than when I needed the original root canal. The endodontist said that the X-Ray didn't show any obvious infection, and he ruled out any other problems with other teeth. He then said that I should come back and have the root canal retreated once the infection and swelling had gone away. He also said that root canal retreatment was only about 50% effective and that I might still need surgery to fix the tooth even after the retreatment.
What should I do? At this point it sounds easier to just have the tooth pulled than to spend thousands of dollars on trying to save the tooth when the odds of success are only 50-60%. Any advice?
Look it up in a search engine. Root canals are 90-95% effective, not 50%.
I have the same problem as you and I've researched it thoroughly. It is CHEAPER to have another root canal than it is to get a bridge! Why are you contacting the endo? Why not go to a regular dentist and see what He has to say? I just did and after seeing the xray he said the r/c was beautiful.
But, then, I wasn't in pain. He's trying a "conservative method" (as he put it) of root scaling and planing. I have a gum infection
What my daughter does is just have teeth extracted. So far she insists she "doesn't miss them" but if she keeps it up she will. And there is a real possibility of teeth shifting and crowding when you have extractions.
Be sure to make a decision quickly before you're in Real pain. And let us know what you've decided. Good Luck.
Hi JBailey. If you see my posts, you will see the same dilemma. Did he say why he might have to do surgery? Do you have the same problem of maybe not being able to remove the current filling in the canals? Will they agree to pull it if you refuse the retreatment?
Hi Karen and Susan. Thanks for the replies. I have already had a root canal on this tooth, and the endodontist said that the re-treatment of root canals is only 50-60% effective. He said that if the retreatment isn't successful, then we would have to try surgery to save the tooth. He didn't mention anything about not being able to remove the filling in the canals. I contacted the endodontist because that is who did the original root canal, and also my regular dentist referred me to him for this problem.
I haven't mentioned pulling the tooth to the endodontist, so I'm not sure if they will agree. I would think that it was my decision whether or not to pull it. Will they not agree to pull yours? I have never had any teeth extracted, but it just seems like the easy answer here. Why spend so much money on something that doesn't have very good odds of success.
Has anyone had a successful re-treatment of a root canal?
I realize it seems like a lot of money and trouble to spend on one tooth, but keep in mind that the cost of extraction and replacement of the missing tooth is just as much, sometimes more. And nothing will look or function like your natural tooth.
My advice....based on my experience of having 4 rc's redone and/or apico'd.......is pull it!!!!!!
I had my original rc's done by the best endo's in the city, they still failed...then redos failed, then the apico's failed and I ended up extracting anyway.
I've spent thousand and thousand of dollars, time, energy and pain trying to save my molars...in the end it just "ain't" worth it.
My only caveat to this....if the original rc wasn't done well for some reason or another and this can be seen in the x-ray then maybe go for the redo...but if original was done by a good endo and the rc looks good..then pull it.
hi , Rachel is right.
You said, "He said that if the retreatment isn't successful, then we would have to try surgery to save the tooth."
Does this mean that he will agree to do surgery INSTEAD of a costly root canal that can break down or weaken the tooth's roots?? I'd ask him to explain the surgery. Because if it's what I 'm going to have it'll cost $125 . I have Never heard of doing a re-r/c FIRST and THEN doing surgery!! The surgery comes first, IMO.
So ask him about this surgery. If the two of them do not agree I'd have to ask myself, "are they in this for themselves or for the patient??" If They don't agree then You* must make the decision, of course!! Since my dentist referred me to the endodontist I KNow he'd be mad if I contacted the endo about this tooth. My endo only takes referrals, I believe. An endo only does root canals. So I'd never call him. My dentist does Lots of Other things instead!! That are less invasive. More conservative. Less expensive.
Thanks for everyone's advice. I consulted a second endodontist who said that there was no point in retreating the root canal since the original root canal was done with a microscope. They said that I definitely need an apico on the tooth and referred me to an oral surgeon. Does anyone know exactly what an apico is and how it is better than a retreatment? I wonder if the "surgery" that the original endo mentioned was an apico or if there are different types of surgeries?
I just posted a new thread called apico..apicoectomy is the surgery they do if a root canal fails...My tooth is KILLING me right now. I just had it re-done after the first one failed. The endo found a crack in the tooth originally, which is why I had the pain but even after he took the nerves out, it still hurt (that was last month). I had the root canal re-done on Tues. and I am in such extreme pain right now that I want to rip it out myself. The endo wants to do an apico even though the xray doesn't show anything. I don't know where you live, but an apico in Brooklyn is $1750 and he doesn't take insurance...I'm leaning towards just having it extracted...it's terrible...I just don't understand this. He said that the apico isn't guaranteed either..it's basically exploratory..I'm also told that there is a chance the pain won't go away after it's pulled if it's neurological...ugh!
Alicia, what des he mean "if it's neurological?" I had an extraction 11 years ago and I have had burning and pain in te surrounding area since. They diagnose this as atypical odontalgia which is a fancy term for tooth pain that isn't typical. But it often follows an upper molar extraction. I have a tooth that may need re-treatment, old root canal that may have an infection. I will never have an apiceoctomy, I would rather have it pulled. Half the people I know who had apicos wound up having it pulled. They do them if the re-treatment is too difficult. I run the risk of having the same neurologic pain no matter what I do but as long as nobody can even see this tooth in the back, I just want it out of me.
I have a rc failing and the whole side of my face swelled up and pain was bad, dentist sent me to specialist and they agreed that it needed to be pulled(bottom molar) because the bone in my jaw under it is deteriorating from bacteria? after antibiotics i feel better, but my only choices are implant or bridge, which are pretty close in price. I think i'll go with the implant after my jaw bone regenerates, because i don't want to dink with the surrounding teeth, plus haven't heard great things about them. i could be wrong, but i can't believe we can put a man on the moon but not functioning teeth in a persons head
I think he means that the tooth isn't what is causing the pain, that something is triggering the nerves in my brain to sense pain...I pray to God it's not that bc if I have to deal with this pain after the tooth is pulled I don't know what I'm going to do...I feel the same way about getting an apico...the endo is excellent but did the root canal twice to make sure nothing was going on (even though he knew there was nothing there bc he did it under a microscope the first time). Nothing shows up on the xray but he wants to try the apico anyway...sure, so he gets my $1700...I'm leaning towards having it pulled but it's a tooth close to the front, which sucks...but I feel the same as you..I just want this awful thing out of me..
[Please refrain from using slang words that could be thought as offensive to some..."this awful thing out of me" is better. Thanks for your cooperation - Well-come Moderator.]
Last edited by Well-come; 01-23-2005 at 06:00 PM.
Reason: Removed cuss/slang word.
Alicia, we seem to be in a similar situation. The endodontist wants to redo my old root canal but said one root is curved and it may not work. So imagine going through that and then needing an apico anyway. I guess that IS what you're going through now. I had this happen to me years ago. I had a root canal and on the third day when I was supposed to be finished, as I was giving the receptionist my check, the dentist came out and said he was sorry but the last canal could not be filled properly. He had just viewed the final x-ray. So I went to the oral surgeon that day who said "You have two years left on this tooth, no sense doing an apico" and he pulled it. I know that there are people who have had successful first and second root canals done...but this would be the second on that tooth which has a 50-60% success rate. It's just not worth it to me. I am sorry that yours is toward the front. I'd opt for a fixed bridge but you have to decide. Please let me know. ok? I am getting a second opinion this week and will let you know, too.
Ok, here's something from the other side of the few replies I've read. I fought with a molar for YEARS because I was terrified of extraction. Even went to the oral surgeon, and had to leave (had a panic attack, I have panic disorder).Found a dentist who re-did the root canal. Even though I had Oxycontin and Advil, as well as antibiotics, I was in screaming, weeping, wailing agony all night and into the next day. Finally the pain med made me sick, and after a while, I took another, and it finally worked. Wasn't much longer, and the crown gave way, and started losing fillings in other teeth. Had multiple fillings in every tooth, so I made the decision to at least find a way to get the bad one extracted. Talked to my MD, she prescribed me one anti-anxiety pill (ativan). Took it an hour before going to oral surgeon, and I couldn't believe how quickly he pulled the tooth. As other teeth lost fillings and started to hurt, I had them extracted, too. They were mostly back teeth, and when I had 13 left, had them all out at once. I had stopped smiling some time back, and the moment they put my dentures in (right after oral surgery, stitches and all). I looked in the mirror, and had a more beautiful smile than I'd ever had before. I made the decision to go the way I did because of family history (mom, dad, and all siblings had dentures by age 18, I was 43 at the time).
I'm saying...If you have a chance to keep your teeth for your whole live, definitely have it extracted and perhaps a tooth replacement done. It's expensive, but worth it if you intend to keep your teeth.