Endodontic surgery has a high success rate and is primarily performed by endodontic specialists.  Teeth that have received conventional root canal therapy normally heal successfully and last as long as other natural teeth.  However, some teeth may develop a recurrent root canal infection because of persistent bacteria outside the tooth.  If so, endodontic surgery may also be needed to save the tooth.


Why Might I Have Persistent Bacteria Outside My Tooth?

In teeth with a history of long-standing infection, infection may progress outside the tooth.  Usually your immune system is able to eliminate this, but sometimes your body needs help.

  • Bacteria may migrate outside the tooth and form colonies called biofilm.  Biofilm is more resistant to your immune system and may require surgical removal.
  • A cyst may form outside the tooth which may not resolve without surgical removal.
  • A root fracture may contain bacteria.


What if I Have a Root Fracture?

    Endodontic surgery is the only way to confirm the presence of a crack or fracture with certainty (aside from removing the tooth entirely).  Unfortunately, if a root fracture is discovered during surgery, the prognosis is unfavorable and removal of the tooth is usually the best option.


    The Procedure

    Endodontic surgery is a very minor surgery and is significantly less invasive than having your tooth extracted.  The video above illustrates this simple procedure. An incision is made in the gum tissue to expose the area of infection. The infected tissue is removed along with the tip of the root. A filling is placed in the end of the root canal to prevent reinfection of the root and the gum is sutured. Once the source of infection is eliminated, the bone is able to naturally heal and regenerate around the root to restore function and support.

    Following the procedure, there is usually some discomfort or swelling for 2-3 days while the incision heals.  This is a normal side effect of most surgical procedures.  To alleviate any discomfort, an appropriate pain medication will be recommended.


    How Much Will It Cost?

    Your cost can vary depending on which tooth is affected and the complexity of the tooth affected. In general, saving your natural tooth is less expensive than tooth removal with replacement with an artificial tooth (implant or bridge).