Some common types of endodontic surgery include root-end resection/apicoectomy, resorption repair surgery, and root amputation. These procedures are typically performed by a specialist in endodontics, a branch of dentistry that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and injuries of the pulp and root of the tooth.
Why You Need Endodontic Surgery
Endodontic surgery is typically recommended when there are problems with the root of the tooth that cannot be addressed with non-surgical treatment. Normally, the tooth has already had root canal treatment performed in the past and a surgical intervention is now necessary to remove a source of infection at the end of the root. Surgery can also be indicated due to a process called resorption. Here are common reasons for needing endodontic surgery:
- Infection: If the end of a root canal treated tooth becomes infected, it can spread to the surrounding tissues and cause pain, swelling, and other symptoms. There can be residual bacteria in isthmuses between canals that cannot be eradicated with our standard instruments. Biofilms can also develop on the external surface of the root that need to be removed in a surgical approach. Endodontic surgery may be necessary to remove any extra bacteria harbored in unique anatomy that is impossible to address with a conventional root canal.
- Damage to the root: If the root of a tooth is damaged from previous endodontic intervention, endodontic surgery may be necessary to repair the root and to help the tooth function properly.
- Obstructed root canal: If the root canal of a tooth is blocked or obstructed, it prevents proper cleaning and disinfection of the root canal system. Endodontic surgery may be needed to remove the obstruction and to allow access to the root canal.
- Cysts: If a large, non-healing lesion is observed around a root canal treated tooth, a cyst can sometimes be suspected. Endodontic surgery may be needed to remove the cyst and any involved portion of the end of the root mechanically.
- Resorption: This condition warrants a different type of surgery to address an area of invasive resorption on the external surface of the root. This is a process where certain cells around the tooth begin to remove root structure and create tunneling defects that can compromise the integrity of the pulp and root structure.
- Endodontic surgery is generally considered a safe and effective treatment for these and other problems with a nonhealing root end of a tooth. It can help to save a tooth that might otherwise need to be extracted and can help to alleviate pain and discomfort.
Types of Endodontic Surgery
There are several different types of endodontic surgery, depending on the specific needs of the patient.
- Apicoectomy: This is a common type of endodontic surgery that involves removing the end of the root (the "apex") of a tooth. After 2-3mm of the root end is removed, the doctor will use special instruments to clean the end of the canal and re-seal it with a biocompatible material. This procedure is often performed when a root canal procedure is not healing or when there is an infection at the root tip that cannot be treated with non-surgical methods.
- Root amputation: This is a procedure in which the end of the root of a tooth is removed, and the root canal is sealed. It is typically performed when the root of a tooth is damaged or fractured and cannot be saved with a root canal procedure.
- Resorption repair surgery: This procedure is done in order to remove an area of a resorptive defect on the side of a root and seal it with a material that induces hard and soft tissue growth. This is sometimes necessary in order to prevent progression of an invasive and progressive area of resorption.
Recovery Time from Endodontic Surgery
The length of time it takes to recover from endodontic surgery varies depending on the specific type of surgery, the location and extent of the procedure, and the individual's overall health and healing ability. In general, endodontic surgery is a relatively minor procedure with a relatively short recovery time. Sutures will be placed at the end of the appointment and a follow up visit will be made approximately one week after the procedure to remove these sutures.
After the surgery, the patient may experience some swelling, bruising, and discomfort in the area, which can usually be managed with over-the-counter pain medications. The patient may also be prescribed a course of antibiotics to help prevent infection.
Most people can return to their normal activities within a few days of the surgery. However, it is important to follow the instructions of the dentist to ensure a smooth and successful recovery.
In some cases, a follow-up appointment may be necessary to check on the healing process and to ensure that the tooth is functioning properly. The patient should also maintain good oral hygiene and follow a soft food diet until the surgical site has fully healed.
Endodontic Surgery in Pleasant Hill, CA
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above or have been told a root canal cannot save your tooth, contact us today to inquire about endodontic surgery.
At Tittle Endodontics, we have advanced training in dental surgery, including all types of endodontic surgery. Don’t wait for symptoms to get worse; call us at 925-676-3388 to schedule an appointment.