Endodontic surgery can help save an otherwise hopeless tooth in a variety of situations. The benefit of choosing endodontic surgery could be a healthy, functioning, natural tooth for the rest of your life.
Usually, a tooth that has undergone a root canal can last the rest of your life and never need further endodontic treatment. However, occasionally, a tooth may not heal or may become infected. A previously root canaled tooth may become painful or diseased months or years after successful treatment. If this is true for you, surgery may help save your tooth. Endodontic surgery can be a great option for an otherwise hopeless tooth and has a 5-year healing rate of over 90%.
Sometimes calcium deposits make a canal too narrow for the instruments used in nonsurgical root canal treatment to reach the end of the root. Your endodontist may perform endodontic surgery to clean and seal the remainder of the canal.
Surgery can also be used to address more complex anatomy at the tip of the root which may not be accessible when doing regular root canal treatment.
Finally, surgery may be an option to treat damaged root surfaces or surrounding bone.
Apicoectomy (Root-End Resection)
Although there are many surgical procedures that can be performed to save a tooth, the most common is called apicoectomy, or root-end resection. When inflammation or infection persists in the bony area around the end of your tooth after a root canal procedure, your endodontist may have to perform an apicoectomy.
In this procedure, the endodontist opens the gum tissue near the tooth to see the underlying bone and to remove any inflamed or infected tissue. The very end of the root is also removed. A small filling may be placed in the root to seal the end of the root canal, and a few stitches or sutures are placed in the gums to help the tissue heal properly. Over a period of months, the bone heals around the end of the root.
Other types of Endodontic Surgery
Other surgeries endodontists might perform include dividing a tooth in half, repairing an injured root, or even removing one or more roots. Dr. Brown will be happy to discuss the specific type of surgery your tooth requires and answer any questions you may have.
Endodontic Surgery Alternatives
Often, the only alternative to surgery is extraction of the tooth. The extracted tooth must then be replaced with an implant, bridge, or removable partial denture to restore chewing function and to prevent adjacent teeth from shifting. No matter how effective modern artificial tooth replacements are, nothing is as good as your natural tooth.