An endodontist like the doctor is a specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions affecting the inner tooth. Most of us are familiar with root canals, where infected or damaged pulp is removed, the inside of the tooth is cleaned and shaped, and a filling is placed inside before the tooth is sealed. In fact, root canals are one of the most common ways to save a tooth that would otherwise be a candidate for extraction.
But what if your tooth needs further attention? Fortunately, we also have training in surgical techniques that can save teeth with more serious or complex problems. These endodontic surgeries can take a number of forms:
Inflamed or infected tissue can sometimes persist near the apex, or tip, of a root even after a root canal procedure. An apicoectomy allows the doctor to make an incision in the gum tissue, remove the affected root tip, clean the infected tissue from the root canal and the bone surrounding it, and seal the tip.
- Root Resection
Sometimes a tooth with two or more roots suffers decay or damage in only one root, or in the bony area surrounding it. If the root is unrestorable, an endodontist can perform a root resection, removing only the damaged or infected root and tissue. Care is taken to preserve the healthy roots and crown.
- Tooth Resection
In this procedure, a molar tooth with multiple roots is treated surgically to preserve as much of the tooth and crown as possible. The tooth is separated into two sections, and both sides are reconstructed (bicuspidization), or the part of the root and crown that can be saved is treated while the other section is extracted (hemisection). While extraction followed by an implant has become a common method of treating a seriously decayed or damaged tooth, these procedures can often save as much of the natural molar as is possible.
- Root Canals
Most root canals are performed without surgery, but sometimes calcium deposits build up in the roots making the canals too narrow for regular root canal files. In this case, a surgical procedure will enable the doctor to remove infected tissue, clean, and seal these narrow spaces.
- Diagnostic Surgery
Sometimes, the reason you are suffering tooth pain is clear as soon as you open your mouth. Sometimes, an X-ray will show the cause of unexplained discomfort. And sometimes, a tooth fracture or the branch of a root canal might be so small that it is not apparent even with the help of X-rays. In this case, endodontic surgery will allow us to locate, diagnose, and treat hidden root problems.
These procedures are just some of the methods we have for preserving teeth that would once have been considered impossible to save. And saving your natural teeth? That’s simply the best.