Root Resection Surgery


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Not all of your teeth have one single root.  In fact, the back molar teeth can have three.  Sometimes you might have a problem with only one of these roots, and as such your dentist will want to treat it without having to remove the other, healthy roots.  In order to do this a root resection can be performed.  This allows your dentist to target the unhealthy or decaying root without necessarily affecting the rest of them.

Due to the invasive treatment needed to target the root, you will have to have a root canal performed before a resection is attempted.  This is because you dentist will have to cut into your tooth and gum in order to access the unhealthy root.  A tooth that hasn’t been treated with a root canal will have all of the blood vessels and nerve endings exposed by this procedure. 

Root resection surgery was a common procedure in the past but is used less often now as alternative treatments are available.  Often now it might be easier to remove the tooth and use a well fitting, aesthetically pleasing implant in its place.  Although retaining your tooth is always preferable this alternative is often used. 

Reason for having Root Resection Surgery

The most common reason for needing a root resection surgery is because a tooth which has already caused problems and has had a root canal is still showing signs of infection.  This is likely to occur if the infection is deep into the tooth’s root.  Another circumstance where a root resection might be valuable is if the tooth is already fitted with either a dental crown or a bridge.  Cutting away either of these could weaken it, so making a root resection preferable.

Root Resection Surgery Procedure

  • Your consent will be gained and the procedure will be explained to you in a consultation with your dentist
  • X-rays are likely to be taken so that your dentist can determine the amount of decay and the position of the roots
  • You will be given a local anaesthetic to the area
  • The gum will be cut back to reveal the bone and tooth roots underneath
  • The decaying parts of the root and bone will be removed using a drill, leaving healthy tissue in place and the area will be thoroughly cleaned using saline solution
  • The gum will be replaced and stitched back into place

The procedure ought to take between 30 and 90 minutes

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