Endodontic Microsurgery Q & A

Is endodontic microsurgery the same as a root canal?

No, a root canal is a nonsurgical treatment for teeth that deeply decayed in the central or pulp portion of the tooth where the blood vessels and nerves are located. Endodontic microsurgery is an advanced treatment that is used when root canal therapy alone is not adequate to preserve the damaged tooth or resolve some types of tooth pain.

When is endodontic microsurgery used?

Endodontic microsurgery is used in several situations, including:

  • Diagnosing the cause of tooth pain when the cause cannot be identified through x-rays alone, such as tiny fractures or very small canal that escaped notice during the original root canal procedure
  • Treating canals that have narrowed due to calcium deposits
  • Treating teeth that become infected or doesn't heal properly following a root canal
  • Treating damaged surfaces of the root or damage to the bone surrounding the root

What is an apicoectomy?

An apicoectomy is a procedure used to remove infected or damaged tissue surrounding the very end, or apex, of a tooth root. During the procedure, an incision is made in the gum to expose the infected or damaged area. Special techniques are used to remove the damaged tissue as well as the apex of the tooth root. The end of the root is then sealed with a filling material and the incision is closed. During the next few months, the bone will heal around the tooth end, providing additional protection against decay and infection.

Is endodontic microsurgery better than having a tooth pulled?

In most cases, preserving a natural tooth is always a better option than having the tooth extracted. While a bridge or partial denture can be used to replace a lot tooth, the underlying jaw bone can become atrophied, resulting in additional tooth loss over time. A dental implant can prevent bone atrophy, but the cost can be significantly more than an endodontic procedure to save the natural tooth.

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