Root Canal Surgery

Surgery may be needed when conventional root canal treatment cannot be performed or has not been successful. Root canal surgery can:

  • Check the end of the root of a tooth for cracks
  • Remove parts of a root that could not be sealed during conventional root canal treatment
  • Clear up an infection that has not healed after conventional root canal treatment.

The most common root canal surgery is an apicoectomy. An apicoectomy involves:

  • Drilling a hole in the enamel of the tooth to access the root canal and pulp
  • Removing the pulp
  • Filling the root with a substance called gutta-percha, which is a natural latex
  • Cutting the gum tissue near the tooth to remove infected or inflamed tissue and removing the root end
  • Stitching the incision

Root canal surgery known as endodontic microsurgery may also be required to preserve a tooth. This type of surgery depends on the nature of the problem prior to treatment and the response of the tissues after initial therapy.