Endodontic Surgery


Generally, a root canal is all that is needed to save teeth with injured pulps from extraction. Occasionally, this non-surgical procedure will not be sufficient to heal the tooth and your endodontist will recommend surgery. Endodontic surgery can be used to locate fractures or hidden canals that do not appear on x-rays but still manifest pain in the tooth. Damaged root surfaces or the surrounding bone may also be treated with this procedure. The most common surgery used to save damaged teeth is an apicoectomy or root-end resection.


An incision is made in the gum tissue to expose the bone and surrounding inflamed tissue. The damaged tissue is removed along with the end of the root tip. A root-end filling is placed to prevent reinfection of the root and the gum is sutured. The bone naturally heals around the root over a period of months restoring full function.

Following the procedure, there may be some discomfort or slight swelling while the incision heals. This is normal for any surgical procedure. To alleviate any discomfort, appropriate pain medication will be recommended. If you have pain that does not respond to medication, please call our office.

Often, the only alternative to endodontic surgery is the extraction of the tooth. The extracted tooth must then be replaced with an implant, bridge, or removable partial denture to restore chewing function and prevent adjacent teeth from shifting. Because these alternatives require surgery or dental procedures on adjacent healthy teeth, endodontic surgery is usually the most biologic and cost-effective option for maintaining your oral health.

No matter how effective modern artificial tooth replacements are—and they can be very effective—nothing is as good as a natural tooth. You’ve already made an investment in saving your tooth. The pay-off for choosing endodontic surgery could be a healthy, functioning natural tooth for the rest of your life.

We recommend that you call your restorative dentist the same week, post-treatment, to make your follow-up appointment. Dentists' schedules tend to book quickly. It is recommended that you have your permanent restoration placed as soon as possible. This step is imperative for the long-term prognosis of your tooth.

Dr. Cutbirth will discuss the properties of any temporary filling he places. The temporary is designed to seal and not allow ingress of pathogenic bacteria. 

Timely follow up with your general dentist is crucial for a permanent restoration. Not following up can allow your temporary filling to leak, thus contaminating your newly completed root canal therapy. Call your dentist the same week (post-treatment) and get on their books for the completion of your restoration. It's that simple, and it puts you on the right road to retaining your tooth for a lifetime.