Why would I need endodontic surgery?
Surgery may be used in diagnosis. If you have persistent symptoms but no problems appear on your x-ray, your tooth may have a tiny fracture or canal that could not be detected during nonsurgical treatment. In such a case, surgery allows Dr Oguntebi to examine the entire root of your tooth, find the problem, and provide treatment.
- Sometimes calcium deposits make a canal too narrow for the instruments used in root canal treatment to reach the end of the root. If your tooth has this 'calcification' then endodontic surgery can clean and seal the remainder of the canal.
- Teeth restored with post crowns that require endodontic treatment can often be dismantled but occasionally Dr Oguntebi may prefer to carry out surgery if he thinks that removing the post may cause irreversible damage to the root.
- Usually, a tooth that has undergone a root canal can last the rest of your life and never need further endodontic treatment. However, in a few cases, a tooth may not heal or become infected. A tooth may become painful or diseased months or even years after successful treatment. If this is true for you, surgery may help save your tooth.
- Surgery may also be performed to treat damaged root surfaces or surrounding bone.
Although there are many surgical procedures that can be performed to save a tooth, the most common involves root-end resection. When inflammation or infection persists in the bony area around the end of your tooth after a root canal procedure, Dr Oguntebi may have to perform root-end resection.
What is root-end resection?
In this surgical procedure, the Dr Oguntebi opens the gum tissue near the tooth to see the underlying bone and to remove any inflamed or infected tissue. The very end of the root is also removed. A small filling is placed in the root to seal the end of the root canal, and a few stitches or sutures are placed in the gingiva to help the tissue heal properly.
Over a period of months, the bone heals around the end of the root.
Will the procedure hurt?
Local anesthetics make the procedure comfortable. Of course, you may feel some discomfort or experience slight swelling while the incision heals. This is normal for any surgical procedure. Dr Oguntebi will recommend appropriate painkillers to alleviate your discomfort.
You will be given you specific postoperative instructions to follow. If you have questions after your procedure, or if you have pain that does not respond to medication, call the surgery for further advice.
Can I drive myself home?
Often you can, but you should ask Dr Oguntebi before your appointment so that you can make transportation arrangements if necessary.
When can I return to my normal activities?
Most patients return to work or other routine activities the next day. Dr Oguntebi will see you two days following your surgery to check that all is healing well and to remove the stitches. He will be happy to discuss your expected recovery time with you.
What are the alternatives to endodontic surgery?
Often, the only alternative to surgery is 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.