In some cases, a nonsurgical root canal procedure won’t be enough to save your tooth and your endodontist will recommend surgery. Endodontic surgery can be used to locate small fractures or hidden canals previously undetected on X-rays during the initial treatment. Surgery may also be needed to remove calcium deposits in root canals, or to treat damaged root surfaces or the surrounding bone of the tooth.
Learn how endodontists perform surgery to treat an abscess or infection and save your tooth.
Endodontic surgery explained
Generally, a root canal is all that is needed to save teeth with injured pulp from extraction. In some cases, this non-surgical procedure will not be sufficient to heal the tooth and your endodontist will recommend surgery.
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 heal properly.
Over a period of months, the bone heals around the end of the root.
What to expect after surgery
Most patients return to work or other routine activities the next day. Your endodontist will be happy to discuss your expected recovery time and follow-up appointments with you.
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, appropriate pain medication will be recommended.
Advanced technologies like digital imaging and operating microscopes allow endodontic surgical procedures to be performed quickly, comfortably and successfully.
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