Surgical and Non-Surgical Root Canal Therapy: Which One Do You Need? | Renovo Endodontic Studio

Surgical and Non-Surgical Root Canal Therapy: Which One Do You Need?


Anyone who has had a root canal procedure will tell you that it isn’t necessarily a pleasant experience—but it is the best solution for treating painful, damaged tooth nerves and pulp.

In the simplest terms, a root canal is a procedure in which the pulp or nerve of a tooth is removed after experiencing trauma, irritation, or infection. Removing the pulp helps restore oral health and eliminate pain while ensuring the tooth retains its natural function.

To perform this procedure, our specialists at Renovo will utilize two different techniques: surgical or non-surgical root canal therapy.


Surgical and Non-Surgical Root Canal Therapy: Which One Do You Need?

What Causes Pulp Damage?

To understand why a patient needs surgical or non-surgical root canal therapy, we must first delve into the type of damage their tooth has endured.

The tooth’s pulp can become damaged or die in the following situations:

  • Trauma: Getting hit in the face while playing sports, falling, biting on a metal utensil, or any number of accidents can all damage a tooth. Just because a tooth isn’t knocked out, cracked, or broken doesn’t mean it’s not damaged. When a tooth sustains these injuries, the blood supply is often severed, causing the nerve to die.
  • Infection: Dental decay that has progressed through the enamel into the pulp causes a bacterial infection. The bacteria irritate the nerve and damage it so that the pulp dies.
  • Inflammation: Pulp inflammation is called pulpitis, which can occur with enamel wear, deep decay, a severe crack, or certain dental procedures. There are two types of pulpitis: reversible and irreversible. In some cases, the nerve is “bruised” and can heal. In others, the pulp will eventually die.
Signs You Need Root Canal Therapy from Renovo Endodontic Studio

Here are just a few signs you might need root canal therapy:

  • Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
  • A fractured tooth
  • A cracked tooth
  • Gum tissue swelling around a single tooth or in a single quadrant
  • Discoloration of the tooth (typically turning dark brown, gray, or black)
  • Prolonged sensitivity or discomfort
  • Jaw ache
  • Deep decay
  • A loose restoration (filling, crown, inlay, or onlay)
  • A red or white bump near a tooth
  • A foul taste in your mouth
  • Sudden bad breath
  • Pus

What Is Non-Surgical Root Canal Therapy?

Non-surgical root canal therapy is also known simply as root canal therapy or treatment, as it’s the most common type of endodontic procedure.

One of our endodontic specialists will start, if necessary, by providing you with local anesthesia and sedation to ensure your comfort. Then, using a laser or high-speed dental handpiece, they’ll open the damaged tooth. They do this by creating an access hole in the biting surface of the posterior (back) teeth or the lingual (tongue-side) surface of the anterior (front) teeth.

Our endodontists create this opening so they can access the root chamber and canals of the tooth. Anterior teeth typically have one nerve and canal, while posterior teeth have between two and four canals in the roots.

Once they have access to the root canals, they will use special metal posts to remove the diseased pulp and clean the canals. When they’ve removed all the pulp tissue, they disinfect the pulp chamber with sodium hypochlorite to remove bacteria and ensure you don’t experience a post-treatment infection.

Finally, our endodontist uses a material called gutta-percha to fill and seal the canals. Filling the canals prevents bacteria from entering the roots, damaging the root and causing a painful infection.

Once our Renovo endodontic team has finished the non-surgical root canal treatment, our patients come in for a follow-up visit to ensure proper healing and the absence of complications. Then, they’ll return to their general dentist for a permanent restoration.

What Is Surgical Root Canal Therapy?

Surgical root canal treatment is needed when non-surgical root canal treatment fails or is insufficient to save the tooth. Recent research shows that most non-surgical root canals (between approximately 82% and 93%) are successful. In addition to possible root canal failure, other reasons to perform a surgical root canal procedure include the following:

  • Needing to identify hidden root canals
  • Needing to identify micro-fractures that are undetectable in x-rays
  • Treating the bone surrounding the damaged tooth
  • Treating outside damaged root surfaces (as opposed to the interior canals alone)
  • Removing calcium deposits in the canals
  • Performing an apicoectomy (Treating the apex or tip of the root)
  • Attempting to preserve an existing restoration (a crown or bridge) or the new restoration that was placed after the original root canal treatment

This procedure is considered surgery, though it is minor. Most patients can complete it without sedatives and with local anesthetic only. However, we do provide sedation options for your comfort.

Instead of going through the top and back of the tooth, our endodontists make an incision in the gum tissue. This allows them to treat the root directly. Then, once they remove the inflamed or infected tissue, they perform a root-end filling (apex filling).

Surgical vs. Non-Surgical Root Canal Treatment—Which Do You Need?

Any type of endodontic therapy aims to save a tooth from further damage or needing an extraction—and we’ll only recommend what we believe is truly best for our patients and their natural teeth.

With that in mind, the decision between surgical and non-surgical root canal procedures lies with our team. Your Renovo endodontists will determine whether you need a surgical or non-surgical root canal to save your tooth based on your unique needs. After careful examination of the tooth intraorally and using x-ray imaging, we’ll be able to determine which procedure is best for you.

Why Choose Renovo Endodontic Studio for Your Endodontic Needs?

At Renovo Endodontic Studio, we go above and beyond to provide our patients with exceptional results—and it shows. Our treatment success rates are well above industry standards.

That’s because our team is committed to obtaining the best education. They take the time to learn about the latest technology and techniques to improve patient comfort, reduce appointment times, and improve treatment success rates.

In addition, our team takes pride in working together to ensure success. We want you to feel as confident as possible in the treatment you receive from Renovo. Therefore, we’ll happily encourage getting a second opinion from one of the many dentists in our network of endodontic specialists.

If you’re ready to get relief from pain and regain your oral health, contact our team for an appointment.

Are you experiencing tooth sensitivity or pain? Contact Renovo Endodontic Studio to schedule an evaluation today! Our endodontists are dedicated to providing you with the best care possible.


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