Is a Root Resection the Same as a Root Canal?

Posted on 4/25/2016 by Brandon Cooley
An elderly woman receiving a root canal.Has your dentist stated that you have an infection in your tooth and need a root resection?

If so, you might be confused about what the procedure is and why you need it. Despite the similarities in the names, a root resection is actually quite different from a root canal.

Root Resection Procedures

The molars have at least three roots, and in some cases, infection may result in one of the roots while the rest remain healthy. With a root resection, the unhealthy root is removed rather than extracting the entire tooth.

This is where the procedure differs from a root canal, as root canal therapy involves removing the blood vessels and nerves inside of the root before filling in the space. With a root resection, the entire root is removed, but since your dentist will need to cut inside of your tooth, a root canal will need to be completed before a root resection will be a possibility.

What Happens during the Procedure?

A root resection will be completed to remove a single root from a multi-rooted tooth, and problems in that root might result from decay, severe bone loss, or a break in the tooth. Your dentist will start by cutting into the gums to expose the root of the tooth, and then a drill is used to remove that root from the remainder of the tooth.

Root Resection Alternatives

Root resection procedures are completed less now than they were in the past. Today, other options are available, such as removing the tooth entirely and replacing it with an implant.

While it is typically best to retain the natural tooth for as long as possible, a resection can actually end up costing more than an extraction and an implant, and the treatment might not last as long.

If you have further questions about your root resection, contact our office for more details.
As a patient, three things stand out to me about Cooley Smiles - the great quality dental work, the cleanliness of the facility and thorough follow up. These are major differentiators that I look for in dental providers and to-date, I've always been satisfied with my experience. Thanks for the great patient care, Cooley Smiles team!

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