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Oral Health Made Simple: Your Prescription For Knowledge
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Root Resection

space placeholder.space placeholder
space placeholder.What Is It?.
space placeholder.What It's Used For.
space placeholder.Preparation.
space placeholder.How It's Done.
space placeholder.Follow-Up.
space placeholder.Risks.
space placeholder.When To Call a Professional.
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space placeholder.What Is It?
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Your molars (back teeth) have three or more roots. Sometimes, the roots of a tooth have good bone support and are free of decay, except for one root. Instead of taking out the whole tooth, your dentist may decide to remove just the one unhealthy root. This is called a root resection. Occasionally, the dentist also will remove part of the crown (top of the tooth) above that root.

A root resection is very different from root canal treatment. In root canal treatment, the nerves and blood vessels inside the root are removed. Then the space is filled with a material that can be seen on an X-ray. In a root resection, the entire root of a tooth is removed. However, root resection does require cutting into the inside of the tooth, which contains blood vessels and nerves. For this reason, the tooth will need root canal treatment before a root resection can be done.

Root resections are done less often now than in the past. Today, your dentist has other options. For example, the tooth can be extracted and replaced with an implant. It's better to keep your natural tooth than to get an implant, but in some cases an implant may be preferred. A root resection can end up costing as much as (or more than) an extraction and an implant. That's because the tooth that remains will also need root canal treatment and a crown (cap). This treatment may not last as long as an implant.

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space placeholder.What It's Used For
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Root resection is done to treat a problem that is limited to a single root of a tooth that has multiple roots. These problems can include decay, a broken tooth or severe bone loss.

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space placeholder.Preparation
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A tooth that needs root resection should have root canal treatment first. You will be given a shot to numb the area (local anesthesia) for a root resection.

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space placeholder.How It's Done
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In most situations, your dentist will need to make cuts in the gum and go through the bone to expose the roots of the tooth. Then the dentist will drill to remove the root from the rest of the tooth. Sometimes, part of the crown will be cut. The attached root will be removed along with that section of the crown.

The dentist will rinse the area with a sterile saline solution. A bone graft may be placed in the place where the root was. Then the gum will be stitched closed. You may be given prescriptions for antibiotics and pain medicine.

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space placeholder.Follow-Up
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You may have some discomfort, swelling and light bleeding for one or two days. Avoid chewing with the tooth until the stitches are removed (7 to 10 days).

When your stitches are removed, your dentist will see how your gums are healing. Once your gums have healed, the dentist can place a permanent crown on the tooth.

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space placeholder.Risks
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As with other types of mouth surgery, you will face a small risk of infection after a root resection.

Because a root resection removes part of a tooth, the procedure carries the same risks as tooth extraction. These include:

  • Accidental damage (cracks or breaks) to nearby teeth.
  • A hole in the sinus during root resection on an upper molar. This usually will close by itself in a few weeks. Another surgery may be needed if the area does not heal on its own.
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space placeholder.When To Call a Professional
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Contact your dentist if you are concerned about the level of pain, swelling or bleeding in the days after a root resection.

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