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 treat teeth that still exibit symptoms of infection. 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-tip resection.
The video on the right illustrates this minor surgical 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 root tip. A filling is placed at the end of the root to prevent reinfection and the gum is then sutured. The bone naturally heals and re-grows around the root over a period of months restoring full function. We recommend returning after 3 months for a follow-up x-ray to check for the desired bone regeneration.
There are some things to consider when preparing for the procedure. The surgery should be scheduled for a time when you can go home and rest afterwards. Following the procedure, you should avoid getting your blood "racing." You should refrain from exerting yourself, exercising or getting emotionally upset; the potential rise in blood pressure can cause the surgical site to bleed and/or throb. There may be some discomfort or slight swelling while the incision heals. The best way to minimize this is with intermittent application of an ice-pack during the first 24 hour period. Keeping the head and shoulders elevated or propped up when resting during the first evening/night is also recommended. To alleviate any discomfort, an appropriate pain medication will be recommended or prescribed.
More detailed instructions will be given in writing at the time of your surgical consultation. Review of the material ahead of time is recommended; you can call our office with any questions or concerns before your surgery appointment.
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