Endodontists know that there is no tooth replacement as good as a natural tooth. Perhaps this is why endodontists make it their mission to take all steps possible to save a natural tooth - and avoid extraction. While root canal treatment is a non-surgical way to save teeth - and one of the most common procedures performed by endodontists, sometimes patients need something more. In this case, one of the tools they use is known as endodontic surgery.
What is endodontic surgery? Let’s find out.
What is Endodontic Surgery?
Although there may be several reasons why an endodontist may find surgery to be the best step in treatment, the most common type of endodontic surgery is known as an apicoectomy, sometimes referred to as root-end surgery or apical surgery. Often, root canal therapy is performed to remove decay and infection in a tooth. But when it is too deep - such as down at the bone at the root’s end - this procedure is usually necessary. Here’s how it works:
Local anesthesia is used to numb the area and keep you comfortable throughout treatment so you won’t feel any discomfort. Then a small incision is made in the soft tissue near the infected tooth. This allows easy access to remove the root’s tip (known as the apex) as well as any tissue that shows signs of inflammation.
The tooth is then protected by a small filling at the end of the root canal that seals it up. Sutures follow to close the incision. Going forward, the bone around the root’s tip will heal together over the next few months without any further infection.
The actual procedure varies in complexity - and this will determine how long it may take. Keep in mind that you want your endodontist to take the time and be diligent to ensure that there is no infection or inflammation left behind. That way, once the area is sealed up and left to heal, it can do so without issue.
Healing from Endodontic Surgery
Generally speaking, you should expect some swelling, minor bleeding, and soreness following this type of endodontic surgery. It is usually minor and doesn’t last. Most patients are back to their normal daily activities the following day.
Here are a few additional tips for successful healing:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers are helpful in reducing any discomfort.
- If prescribed antibiotics, be sure to take them as instructed.
- Ice compresses in the general area can help bring down the swelling.
- Change your diet to stick to soft foods for the first few days after surgery.
- Avoid brushing the area where the surgery took place for the first few days afterward.
- Gently rinsing with a saltwater solution can keep the area free from debris and help it heal.
Should you experience any severe swelling, uncontrollable bleeding, or something just doesn’t feel right, contact your endodontist.
Looking for Relief with Endodontic Surgery?
If you are dealing with chronic or severe tooth pain, have a pimple-like bump on the gums near your ailing tooth, or have a tooth that is sensitive to temperature and touch, you may need an endodontic procedure - and maybe even endodontic surgery.
The highly-skilled team at Contemporary Endodontics of Oklahoma can help.