Root Amputation: What It Is and Why You Might Need It

Root Amputation: What It Is and Why You Might Need It

Root amputation is one of the most common procedures you’ll undergo as a dental patient. It’s done to improve your oral health and prevent future damage, so it’s essential to understand what this procedure involves and why it might be necessary. Here’s what you need to know about root amputation if you have a tooth that needs it.

What is it?

Root amputation is a procedure performed to prevent tooth-root decay. When decay reaches a certain point, it can be hard to treat without causing more harm than good. In these situations, some of your tooth’s root structure may need to be removed in order to save what remains. The most common reason for a root amputation is when a deep cavity forms on a tooth that has had multiple fillings before.
if your dentist finds evidence of recurrent decay after filling cavities in previous visits, he or she might recommend removing part of your tooth’s root as an alternative treatment option to endodontic therapy. This process involves saving what’s left of your tooth by cleaning out its interior canal (the hollow space inside your tooth) and adding a crown over its remaining structure.
Another less common reason for a root amputation is if you have advanced periodontal disease. Your periodontist will likely perform surgery to remove all but 1 millimeter of your infected tissue—but since there isn’t enough healthy tissue left behind, they’ll also remove part of your tooth’s root. While both types of procedures are effective at preventing further damage, they don’t always result in successful treatment outcomes. That’s why it’s important to talk with your dentist about other possible treatments like dental implants or bridges before making any decisions about future care options.

When should you have it done?

Whether or not you need a root canal depends on what’s causing your tooth pain. If it’s due to an infection, you may need a root canal. This is because infected tissue can eventually spread to other parts of your body if left untreated, leading to more serious problems. Your dentist might first suggest conservative measures like antibiotics or fillings for less serious infections, but for more severe cases he’ll most likely recommend getting a root canal right away.
However, there are also situations where a root canal won’t be necessary—for example, if you have dental abscesses that aren’t caused by an infection. In these cases, oral surgeons will often use drainage procedures instead.

A procedure called endodontic therapy, which includes a root canal as well as placing a filling in your tooth will typically cost between $350 and $1,000 depending on where you live. But some insurance plans do cover at least part of the cost.
But how does it work?: The process usually takes about two hours, but it can take longer depending on what type of procedure you need.

The importance of the correct diagnosis

If you’re told that you need a root amputation, what does that mean? While it might sound dramatic, a root amputation (also called endodontic retreatment) is used to prevent severe damage to your teeth—as well as protect your overall health. So what exactly is involved with a root amputation, and why is it necessary? Keep reading to learn more.
Root amputation is typically performed in one of two ways: either through pulpotomy or another form of coronal debridement. Both techniques are used to remove infected tissue from your tooth’s pulp chamber—the innermost part of your tooth that contains blood vessels, connective tissues, and nerves. The goal is to prevent bacteria from spreading throughout your mouth (and even into other parts of your body) while also saving as much healthy tooth structure as possible.

How are they done?

Root amputations are performed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. This type of surgery removes a portion of your tooth’s root in order to relieve pressure caused by gum disease or trauma. In cases where some or all of a tooth’s structure must be removed, a root amputation is used to minimize further damage to the jawbone, neighboring teeth, and soft tissue in your mouth. The procedure may also be referred to as a root resection or partial extraction.
The end result is that you lose less bone than if you had undergone a traditional extraction—and sometimes none at all. There are two types of root amputations: one-sided and two-sided. A one-sided root amputation involves removing only part of a tooth’s root, while a two-sided removal requires removing both sides. During either type of surgery, your dentist will remove diseased or damaged tissue from inside your gums with an instrument called a scaler before taking out any remaining parts of your tooth using special surgical tools.

Aftercare and recovery

After root amputation, you might be given medication for pain relief or an antibiotic to prevent infection. You will likely have an appointment with your dentist or oral surgeon before you leave to ensure that your mouth is healing properly. Your doctor may ask you to rinse your mouth with salt water several times a day or apply an antiseptic mouthwash such as chlorhexidine gluconate (Peridex). A liquid diet should be followed until further notice.
You can eat soft foods after two days; however, you must avoid chewing gum or sucking on hard candy for at least one week after surgery. If you feel any discomfort in your mouth during recovery, take acetaminophen (Tylenol) for pain relief. Be sure to follow up with your doctor if there are any problems during recovery. The most common complication of tooth extraction is a dry socket, which occurs when blood vessels inside a tooth’s empty socket become exposed to air.
Dry socket occurs most often when teeth are removed from patients who smoke cigarettes or use smokeless tobacco products, but they can also occur when patients don’t clean their mouths well enough after eating sugary foods or if they wait too long between brushing their teeth and visiting their dentist.


Understanding Root Amputation. If your doctor recommends root amputation, he or she will explain why it’s necessary. Even if you already know that traditional treatments for a tooth that is decayed, infected, or otherwise damaged aren’t working, ask questions about what else can be done before accepting root amputation as a solution. In some cases, saving the tooth may be possible with a more involved procedure. Discuss all of your options with your dentist to understand what to expect from each option so you can make an informed decision about how to proceed.

In most cases, root amputation is considered when other dental procedures are not successful in saving teeth from infection or decay. If your dentist recommends a root amputation, you should ask why it’s necessary. Root canal therapy may be an option for some decayed teeth; but if it’s not possible to save a tooth with that procedure, then a root amputation may be recommended instead. Your dentist will explain what he or she thinks would happen if you don’t have a root amputation performed on your tooth.

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