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Why would I need Endodontic Surgery?

Generally, a root canal is all that is needed to save teeth with injured pulp from extraction. Occasionally, this non-surgical procedure will not be sufficient to heal the tooth and your endodontist will recommend surgery. Endodontic surgery can be used to locate fractures or hidden canals that do not appear on x-rays but still manifest pain in the tooth. Damaged root surfaces or the surrounding bone may also be treated. The most common surgery used to save damaged teeth is an apicoectomy or root-end resection.

What is an Apicoectomy?

The diagram below illustrates this simple procedure. An incision is made in the gum tissue to expose the bone and surrounding inflamed tissue. The infected tissue is removed along with the end of the root tip. A root-end filling is placed to prevent reinfection of the root and the gum is sutured. The bone naturally heals around the root over a period of months restoring full function.

Following the procedure, there may be some discomfort or slight swelling while the incision heals. This is normal for any surgical procedure. To alleviate any discomfort, an appropriate pain medication will be recommended. If you have pain that does not respond to medication, please call our office.

Once retreatment has been proscribed, the doctor will reopen your tooth to gain access to the root canal filling material. This restorative material will be removed to access the root canal. The doctor will then clean your canals and carefully examine the inside of the problematic tooth. Once cleaned, he will fill and seal the canals and place a temporary filling in the tooth.

At this point, you will need to return to your dentist as soon as possible in order to have a new crown or restoration placed on the tooth to restore full functionality. As with any medical or dental procedure, complications that do not respond to medications or treatment, should be reported to our office or other emergency facility.