Why would I need
Surgery can help
save your tooth in a variety of situations.
- Surgery may be
used in diagnosis. If you have
persistent symptoms but no problems
appear on your x-ray, your tooth may
have a tiny fracture or canal that could
not be detected during nonsurgical
treatment. In such a case, surgery
allows your endodontist to examine the
entire root of your tooth, find the
problem, and provide treatment.
calcium deposits make a canal too narrow
for the instruments used in nonsurgical
root canal treatment to reach the end of
the root. If your tooth has this
“calcification,” your endodontist may
perform endodontic surgery to clean and
seal the remainder of the canal.
- Usually, a
tooth that has undergone a root canal
can last the rest of your life and never
need further endodontic treatment.
However, in a few cases, a tooth may not
heal or become infected. A tooth may
become painful or diseased months or
even years after successful treatment.
If this is true for you, surgery may
help save your tooth.
- Surgery may
also be performed to treat damaged root
surfaces or surrounding bone.
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
What is 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 gingiva to help the tissue
Over a period of
months, the bone heals around the end of the
Are there other types
of endodontic surgery?
endodontists might perform include dividing
a tooth in half, repairing an injured root,
or even removing one or more roots. Your
endodontist will be happy to discuss the
specific type of surgery your tooth
In certain cases, a
procedure called intentional replantation
may be performed. In this procedure, a tooth
is extracted, treated with an endodontic
procedure while it is out of the mouth, and
then replaced in its socket.
are designed to help you save your tooth.
Will the procedure
make the procedure comfortable. Of course,
you may feel some discomfort or experience
slight swelling while the incision heals.
This is normal for any surgical procedure.
Your endodontist will recommend appropriate
pain medication to alleviate your
will give you specific postoperative
instructions to follow. If you have
questions after your procedure, or if you
have pain that does not respond to
medication, call your endodontist.
Can I drive myself
Often you can, but
you should ask your endodontist before your
appointment so that you can make
transportation arrangements if necessary.
When can I return to
my normal activities?
return to work or other routine activities
the next day. Your endodontist will be happy
to discuss your expected recovery time with
How do I know
the surgery will be successful?
dentist or endodontist is suggesting
endodontic surgery because he or she
believes it is the best option for
saving your own natural tooth. Of
course, there are no guarantees with
any surgical procedure. Your
endodontist will discuss your
chances for success so that you can
make an informed decision.