Sometimes there are serious problems with a tooth that requires surgery to save it. If a tooth resists healing and there is a threat that you might lose it, the time has come to seek the help of an endodontist. This is a specialized dentist who is trained in complex root canal surgeries, retreatments, and endodontic surgery.
There are a number of reasons that you might require endodontic surgery. Surgery may help save a tooth that’s in jeopardy, be used to diagnose difficult cases, be the only way for instruments to reach a tooth’s root, or come to the rescue when a root canal was unsuccessful in correcting a tooth’s problem.
The most common type of surgery performed by an endodontist to save a tooth is called an apicoectomy. This requires the gum tissue near the tooth to be opened so that the surgeon can see the bone underneath and remove any infected tissue. The tip of the root will also be removed. A filling may be needed in the root to close the canal, and stitches will be placed to aid healing. The endodontist will often take a sample of your tissue to be analyzed to help determine the cause for your mouth irritation, gum pain, or toothache.
Other endodontic surgeries can include repairing a damaged root, removing a root, or dividing a tooth in half. The primary goal of most surgeries is saving your tooth, usually because the only alternative is extracting the tooth. Extraction typically leads to replacement with an implant, partial denture, or bridge. Even though artificial tooth replacements today are often effective, the goal in dentistry is to help you keep your natural teeth as long as possible. Endodontic surgery is one way to accomplish that goal.