Root canals are a common dentist practice for removing infectious materials inside a tooth. The dentist takes off the natural crown of your tooth to access the root canal inside. Infected pulp material is scraped out of the canal, and the canal is washed with an antibacterial solution. An artificial crown is then used to seal up your tooth. Having a root canal performed doesn't always mean that you won't need another root canal on that tooth in the future. There are a few circumstances that make it more likely you will have to undergo another procedure.
Infection Not Fully Removed
Even highly qualified dentists can sometimes miss some of the infected material. Teeth have multiple roots and root ends, called apexes, that are difficult to reach. So it's possible for some infected material to remain after the root canal procedure. This material can then fuel another round of discomfort and inflammation.
If it's a standard root that's still infected, the dentist will simply repeat the standard root canal procedure and target the missed roots. Apex infections are a bit more complicated and require an apicoectomy.
An apicoectomy involves surgically removing the root ends, then replacing the end with a biological material injection that essentially acts as a plug. This plug keeps infectious material from entering via the root ends, which will reduce the chances of recurrent infections in the future.
Loose or Damaged Dental Crown
The artificial dental crown placed on a tooth after the root canal can become damaged or come loose over time. This can happen due to continued decay of the tooth structure or trauma to the crown.
If the crown becomes loose or damaged, infectious materials can easily access the root canal through the holes. Infections that take hold before the crown can be replaced might require another root canal procedure.
Poor Oral Health
A tooth that received a root canal procedure isn't permanently protected from infections. Buildups of oral bacteria around the teeth make it likely that an infection will return.
It's vital to stick to a proper oral health routine. Brush your teeth at least twice daily using a soft bristle brush and toothpaste that contains fluoride. The fluoride helps protect the enamel on your existing natural teeth, but won't make the artificial crown of a root canal any stronger. Floss between the teeth daily to remove any trapped bacteria that can work into the tooth roots. For more information, contact a local dentist like Family Dentistry Of Woodstock.