Why would I need endodontic surgery?

  • In a variety of situations, surgery can save your tooth.
  • Surgery can be useful in diagnosis. If you have persistent symptoms but no problems appear on your x-ray, your tooth may have a tiny fracture or canal that could not be detected during nonsurgical treatment. Surgery allows your endodontist to examine the entire root of your tooth, find the problem, and provide treatment.
  • Sometimes calcium deposits make a canal too narrow for the instruments used in nonsurgical root canal treatment to reach the end of the root. If your tooth has “calcification,” your endodontist may perform endodontic surgery to clean and seal the remainder of the canal.
  • A tooth that has undergone a root canal can last the rest of your life and may never need further endodontic treatment. In a few cases, a tooth may not heal or may become infected. A tooth may become painful or diseased months or even years after a successful treatment. If this applies to you, surgery may help save your tooth.
  • Surgery may be performed to treat damaged root surfaces or surrounding bone.

Although there are many surgical procedures that can be performed to save a tooth, the most common is called apicoectomy or root-end resection. Your endodontist may have to perform an apicoectomy when inflammation or infection persists in the bony area around the end of your tooth after a root canal procedure.