3 Dental Problems That Can Be Fixed With Root Amputation

A tooth root helps keep the tooth alive by transporting important nerve, tissue, and blood cells in and out of the tooth. But trauma or infection can damage the root and threaten the life of the tooth. There are a variety of ways your dentist can treat a damaged root to try and save the tooth. One of those ways is a root amputation.

Root amputation is a treatment option in teeth that have more than one root. The dentist will remove one of the roots in order to solve a longstanding dental problem. Here are a few of the dental problems that can be treated with root amputation.

Recurrent Infections

If harmful bacteria take hold and start an infection, the infection can spread from the gums to the root and up into the tooth. Your dentist will usually treat the infection with a traditional root canal procedure, which involves scraping out the infected material, replacing it with a bio-safe cement, and then covering the tooth with an artificial crown.

While root canals are often efficient at treating infection, the infection can sometimes return. If it's one particular root to the tooth that keeps getting infected, your dentist might opt to perform a root amputation.

Your dentist will start by clearing up as much of the infection as possible using oral antibiotics or antiseptic rinses. The dentist will then cut into the gums – and potentially into the tooth – to remove the infected root. Removing the root might leave an empty space in the jawbone beneath the tooth.

The remaining root area is then disinfected and sealed shut using a dental crown.

Broken Tooth

A trauma-related break or decay-related cavity can run straight through the tooth and crack through a tooth root. The cracked root is more vulnerable to infection and also to root death, which can end up spreading to the other roots. Root amputation can help save a tooth with a severe cracked root.

Your dentist will perform a traditional root canal on the root first to remove any sensitive material. Then the root is removed, sealed shut, and the cracks are covered. Your dentist might use a traditional filling or a dental crown to cover the damage and protect the remaining root from further damage.

Bone Loss

A tooth root is nestled into the jawbone for support and protection. Deteriorated bone due to periodontal infection can leave the root unsupported and vulnerable to damage. If the bone weakness is mostly around one root, a root amputation can help.

After the dentist removes the root, there will be an even larger gap that includes the space the root occupied. Your dentist might opt to perform a bone graft to strengthen the area. The graft will use bone from elsewhere in your jaw or somewhere else in your body like your hip. This graft bone will be carefully inserted into the weakened areas. Healing will involve the two sections of bone fusing together over time.

For more information on root canals, contact a professional dentist like Rick Chavez DDS.