What is dental root amputation?

Dustin S. Burleson, DDS
Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics
Dental root amputation (or respective therapy) is a dental surgical procedure most-commonly used in the management of periodontal disease, tooth decay or root fractures in molar teeth that extend to the area where the roots join (with secondary bone loss). The goal of dental root amputation is to save a tooth with otherwise extensive challenges to maintaining healthy bone and tooth structure, should the root in question be maintained.

Dental root amputation is exactly what it sounds like: the surgical removal of a tooth root in order to eliminate disease, prevent further loss of bone in an area of dental or gum and bone infection and/or tooth fracture. In his landmark textbook, Dr. Marvin Rosenberg and colleagues described several situations where dental root amputation might be necessary:
  1. Severe bone defects around the root of a molar tooth with sufficient bone support on all of the remaining roots.
  2. Horizontal fracture of a root with adequate support and minimal involvement for the remaining roots.
  3. A root that is in an extremely unfavorable position, relative to an adjacent tooth.
  4. Severe tooth decay approaching the portion of the tooth where the roots meet (called the furcation).
  5. A root canal that has extended beyond the nerve chamber and entered into the furcation.
Dental root amputation requires root canal therapy, either before or after the root amputation procedure, and a full-coverage restoration (crown or bridge). The key to success in dental root amputation is proper case selection. Ask your dentist or dental specialist for more information when considering dental root amputation as one of your treatment choices.
A dental root amputation is when a dental surgeon removes one of a tooth’s damaged roots while keeping the healthy root or roots in place. Dental root amputation allows you to keep part of the original tooth, rather than having the entire tooth removed. The procedure is usually done on molars, since molars have more than one root. Dental root amputation is sometimes called dental root resection.
A dental root amputation is the surgical removal of a tooth's root. A dentist will perform this when the root cannot be healed and in order to save the remaining roots of the tooth and the tooth itself. If the problem root is not removed, it could lead to infection. Years ago, diseased or injured teeth were often pulled. Thanks to today's technology, your tooth can be saved through root canal treatment.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.