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Gum Diseases

Can Gum Surgery Help Prevent Root Canals?

11/13/2009

Question:

I`m told that I have some significant gum recession, and perhaps as a result, a number of exposed roots. This is accompanied by considerable sensitivity to biting anything hard, to eating anything sweet, and to hot and cold temperatures in some teeth. And perhaps as a result, I have had a number of recent root canals --too many, in my opinion!

Although my gums currently seem to be in fairly good health (a periodontal visit last month showed pocket depths of mostly 3`s and 4`s), my question is whether some form of gum surgery (or root scaling and planing) would be likely to lead to less root exposure, nerve sensitivity, and root canal work. Or are there any actions related to my gums that I can take which would prevent future root canals? Thanks for your guidance.

Answer:

Soft tissue grafting procedures are available to cover exposed root surfaces. However, the treatment outcome depends on the severity of bone loss around the tooth. If you have severe bone loss especially between your teeth (a good sign of it would be space between your teeth) then soft tissue graft procedure will not successfully cover exposed root surfaces and solve your main problem (sensitivity). My understanding is that your periodontist probably recommended to perform root canal treatment to solve the sensitivity problem since he/she cannot offer surgery to cover the root surfaces due to severe interproximal (between teeth) bone loss.

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Response by:

Binnaz   Leblebicioglu, DDS, MS, PhD Binnaz Leblebicioglu, DDS, MS, PhD
Associate Professor of Periodontology
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University