Tooth roots allow vital blood cells and tissue to enter the interior of the tooth from the bone and gums. The cells and tissue form the bulk of the pulp material inside the root canal that helps keep the tooth alive. Damage to the tooth roots due to infection or trauma can prevent this material from entering the tooth and eventually cause the tooth to die, which requires extraction.
Infection or damage within the canal can usually be fixed with a root canal procedure. But there are times when a root canal isn't enough or won't reach the actual problem. There are a few other endodontic surgeries that can aid damaged tooth roots.
A traditional root canal procedure cleans out the pulp down into the roots, but does not reach the very tips of the roots. Those tips, called the apexes, are the entry point for the tissue. Infection or damage to the apexes can lead to recurring pain and threaten the life of the tooth.
Your dentist can fix this problem with an apicoectomy, which is the surgical removal of the root tips. The apexes are accessed through cuts in the gums and jawbone. The remaining root is then sealed so that infectious material can't keep using that route to get inside the tooth.
An apicoectomy is often scheduled if you have already had a root canal but have now suffered a second infection in that same tooth.
Sometimes a tooth root has suffered so much damage that the root is now only a health risk to the health of the tooth. Thankfully, many teeth in your mouth have more than one root, which allows your dentist to remove the affected root without also extracting the tooth.
The removal of a tooth root is called a root resection. Your endodontic surgeon will cut through the jawbone to access the root, cut the root away from the tooth, and potentially use a bone graft material to close the hole depending on the size.
Your dentist will perform a root canal procedure on the affected tooth before the resection if there is any living pulp still inside. The pulp will need to be removed to prevent pain and potential infection stemming from removing the root.
The decay and damage can sometimes happen directly around the roots rather than to the roots themselves. In cases where the damage is between two roots of the same tooth, your dentist might recommend a root hemisection surgery.
Root hemisection involves cutting the crown of the tooth in half to essentially create two new teeth. Each side has its own root or roots, and the dentist is then able to get down between the new teeth and existing roots to remove the damage.Share