What You Should Expect When Your Dentist Does a Root Tip Resection on a Tooth to Stop a Chronic Inflammation Problem

If you've ever had a root canal done, there is a chance that the tip of root on the tooth could get filled with bacteria and create a constant source of inflammation in your gums and bone. This problem results after a root canal for one of two reasons: the root wasn't completely cleaned out at the time of the root canal, or the amalgamate used to fill the tooth after the root canal has deteriorated to the point where bacteria has seeped down to the tip of the root and caused an infection. The only way to effectively treat the inflammation short of total removal of the tooth is to remove the tip of the root. If your dentist has told you that the tip of your root has to be removed, here is what you should expect.

Local Anesthesia

The dentist will numb the area the same way they would if they were working on a filling. The most common numbing agent that is used is lidocaine. The lidocaine will be injected around the perimeter of the tip of the root to numb the area.


An incision will be made on the side of the gums where the tip of the root is located. A flap is cut out that the dentist folds back to expose the tip of the root.

Root Tip Resection

The reason that the tip of the root is removed, and not the whole tooth, is because the tips have tiny canals that the bacteria hides in that cannot be cleaned with contemporary dental tools. The best way to clean the canals is to just remove them. A tiny saw is placed through the flap in the gums, and the dentist saws off the tip. The tip is then removed from your mouth. The flap is folded over and stitched together.

Clean Inside of Tooth

The dentist will remove all of the old fillings and scrape the inside of the tooth down to the bone. The tooth will be thoroughly cleaned to remove any bacteria. After cleaning, the tooth is filled with an antibacterial filling such as zinc oxide and eugenol cement.

Recovery Time

You will probably have some swelling and pain for the first few days after the surgery. The dentist will usually prescribe you a mild pain killer and have you use ice packs to control the swelling. The stitches in your mouth will be removed in about a week. You'll probably have some level of tenderness until after the gums heal, which usually takes two weeks or so. If you have more questions about this procedure, talk to a dentist like Kenneth Schweizer DDS PA.