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 with this procedure. The most common surgery used to save damaged teeth is an apicoectomy or root-end resection.
WHAT IS AN APICOECTOMY?
The above diagram illustrates this simple procedure. An incision is made in the gum tissue to expose the bone and surrounding inflamed tissue. The damaged 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.
Often, the only alternative to endodontic surgery is the 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. Because these alternatives require surgery or dental procedures on adjacent healthy teeth, endodontic surgery is usually the most biologic and cost-effective option for maintaining your oral health.
No matter how effective modern artificial tooth replacements are—and they can be very effective—nothing is as good as a natural tooth. You’ve already made an investment in saving your tooth. The pay-off for choosing endodontic surgery could be a healthy, functioning natural tooth for the rest of your life.
We recommend that you call your restorative dentist as soon as possible to make your follow-up appointment. Dentists' schedules tend to book quickly. It is recommended that you have your permanent restoration placed 2-3 weeks after your root canal treatment to allow healing to take place, but not longer than one month after the procedure. This step is imperative for the long-term prognosis of your tooth.
The temporary filling placed in the biting surface of your tooth is designed to last ideally two to four weeks, not longer than six to eight weeks. It is crucial to see your general dentist for a permanent restoration. Waiting longer than eight weeks can cause your temporary filling to leak, thus contaminating your newly completed root canal therapy.