Myths concerning endodontic therapy

There are common misconceptions that endodontic treatment cause pain or illness and it should be avoided. In fact, the exact opposite is true. There is plenty of scientific evidence to support the fact that endodontic treatment is a completely safe and predictable treatment that relieves from pain. More information could be found in the web site of the American Assocation of Endodontists:
How many sessions are required to complete an endodontic treatment?

Although in the majority of the cases the endodontic treatment can be completed in one appointment, sometimes two or more appointments are required.

For how long can we maintain an endodontically treated tooth in the mouth?

With a proper endodontic treatment and restoration, we can preserve an endodontically treated tooth in our mouth for many years. The most important requirements are good oral hygiene and regular visits to your dentist.

Will it hurt?

Modern analgesic techniques ensure that the endodontic treatment can be undertaken without pain and, in experienced hands, it is rare for pain to be felt. In the majority of the cases, the tooth is already painful and the endodontic treatment relieves the patient from his symptoms.

Is there pain after the treatment?

After treatment discomfort can be felt, but normally this can be fully controlled with painkillers. This discomfort may last for a few days. In rare situations, the treated teeth are sensitive for longer periods even weeks or months but they eventually settle down.

How much an endodontic treatment cost?

The cost is varying depending on who does the treatment and which tooth requires treatment. The endodontic treatment is the less expensive alternative if you compare it with the solution of extraction and a placement of an implant or a bridge.

Are there other alternatives?

An endodontic treatment is the only solution to hold your tooth in your mouth. The only alternative is extraction which must be followed as it was said previously by an implant or a bridge, which are both expensive and time-consuming therapies.

Can a dentist/endodontist perform a root canal therapy in all the teeth?

Most teeth can be treated endodontically. Sometimes, a tooth cannot be saved because the root canals are not accessible, the tooth doesn’t have adequate bone support, the tooth is severely fractured or the tooth cannot be restored.

Do failure occur after an endodontic treatment?

Despite the high success rate of endodontic treatment, failures do occur in a number of cases. Most of the times can be attributed to the causes mentioned previously. If the endodontic treatment fails, the solutions of retreatment or endodontic microsurgery should be considered.

What is an endodontic retreatment?

Teeth that have had endodontic (root canal) treatment can last as long as natural teeth, however, in some cases the treatment can fail or symptoms can persist. This may happen shortly after the treatment has been performed or even years following the treatment.

In these cases it may be possible to carry out the treatment again, a procedure called endodontic retreatment.

Why does the treatment fail?

Endodontic treatment can fail for a number of reasons: It was not possible to treat root canals with specific difficulties well enough or the canals were not fully cleaned during the initial procedure. The tooth may have additional complicated anatomy that was not found on the initial treatment. Moreover, the final restoration was not placed quickly enough or the final restoration leaked due to a poor fit, fracture or recurrent decay around it.

Is retreatment more complicated than initial root canal treatment?

Retreatment is often more complicated than initial root canal treatment as the tooth is normally restored with a permanent restoration. This can range from a simple restoration to a full coverage restoration( a crown or as part of a bridge). In addition to this, a post may have been placed inside the root prior to a final restoration being placed. This creates difficulty as access to the root canals is more difficult.

Additionally the canals will have been filled with root filling material and hence this has to be removed before they can be instrumented and cleaned again. All these obstacles make the process more complicated.

Who does the retreatment procedure?

All dentists can carry out endodontic treatment but many prefer not to carry out retreatment procedures as this can be more challenging and may require additional special equipment that may not available in their dental clinics.

Your dentist may choose to refer you to another practitioner who either has greater experience and training in the procedure or to a dedicated specialist endodontist for the procedure. A specialist endodontist is a practitioner who is registered in the Association of Greek Endodontists and he can carry out all forms of endodontic treatment. The endodontist will have more additional dental equipment that may facilitate the procedure.

What will happen if I am referred to an endodontist?

The endodontist will discuss with you the treatment options for your tooth and he will provides all the necessary information for the treatment. The endodontic procedure will be explained to you as well as the costs for the treatment.

What will happen during the retreatment?

If you decide on retreatment the endodontist will gain access to the root canals of the tooth to remove the root filling and clean the canals again prior to refilling the canals. In many cases the permanent restoration on the tooth will have to be removed, including complex restorations such as crowns and posts to allow the procedure to be carried out.

Will the retreatment be successful?

Retreated teeth can function for many years if the reasons for the initial failure can be overcomed. Advances in technology have allowed retreatment to be carried out on complicate problems but like most medical and dental procedures difficulties can prevent some teeth from responding to the treatment.