Root amputation

Jun 9, 2011   //   by editor   //    //  No Comments

Root amputation is a dental surgery in which a single root is removed from a multi-root tooth. Root canal treatment involves the removal of pulp, tissue and nerves from their space (canal) within the tooth below the gumline (root). Root amputation removes one of the roots themselves from a multi-root tooth such as the molars at the back of the mouth, which have 2 or 3 roots each. As with other endodontic treatments, the intent is to save a tooth that would otherwise need to be extracted.

Root amputation may be recommended if a multi-root tooth that is otherwise healthy and strong has extensive damage to one root that cannot be corrected with only root canal treatment. The damage could be caused by embedded bacteria, concentrated tooth decay, trauma, or severe concentrated bone loss due to gum disease.

The procedure is performed under local anesthetic, and requires 1-3 visits. It begins with root canal treatment, to remove the pulp from the root that is to be amputated. Then an incision is made in the gum to expose the root. The root is cut from the tooth and removed. The exposed area is cleaned and sutured closed.

A temporary crown will be placed to protect the tooth while the gums heal. Over this healing period of 7-10 days, antibiotics and antimicrobial mouthwash may be prescribed to minimize the risk of infection and speed healing. Finally, the stitches are removed and a permanent crown completes the restoration.

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