Endodontic surgery is a specialized dental procedure used to locate small fractures or hidden canals that were not previously detected on x-rays during initial treatment. It may also be used to remove calcium deposits in the root canals or to treat damaged root surfaces or surrounding bone of the tooth. In some cases, a non-surgical endodontic procedure may not be enough to save the tooth, so the dentist or endodontist may suggest endodontic surgery. An apicectomy is a procedure performed to surgically remove an infection inside the tooth and repair the roots.
This is often recommended when a standard root canal procedure fails or is not an option. In this procedure, the endodontist opens the gum tissue near the tooth to see the underlying bone and remove any inflamed or infected tissue. The end of the root is also removed and a small filling may be placed in the root to seal the end of the root canal. Some stitches or sutures will be placed in the gums to help the tissue heal properly.
Over a period of months, bone heals around the end of the root. To understand why endodontic surgery is necessary, it is first useful to know something about the non-surgical endodontic procedure or root canal. Endodontics is necessary when the soft internal tissue, or pulp, of the tooth becomes inflamed or infected. This can occur as a result of deep tooth decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, or a blow to the tooth. Endodontic treatment removes damaged pulp and then cleans and fills the tooth canals to help preserve it. Calcium deposits sometimes cause a canal to be too narrow for cleaning and shaping instruments used in non-surgical root canal treatment to reach the end of the root canal.
If your tooth has this calcification, then an endodontist can perform endodontic surgery to clean and seal the rest of the canal. Other types of endodontic surgery include splitting a tooth in half, repairing an injured root, or even removing one or more roots. After an endodontic surgery procedure, your endodontist will give you instructions on what to eat, how to handle any medications you are taking, and other ways to prepare. Pain medication may also be recommended afterwards to help with any swelling and discomfort while the incision heals. If you have questions after the procedure, or if you have pain that doesn't respond to medications, call your endodontist. Your dentist or endodontist suggests endodontic surgery because they believe it is the best option to save your own natural tooth.
Learn about surgical procedures endodontists perform to treat an abscess or infection and save your tooth. You can often do this yourself but you should ask your endodontist before your appointment so that transportation arrangements can be made if necessary.