When remnants of a tooth root remain as the result of an incomplete prior extraction, the removal of this residual root, is covered under this dental procedure code.
From a procedural standpoint, the surgical extraction of a residual tooth root is a straightforward event. Your dentist will provide local anesthetic to numb the area, or if you are overly anxious about the procedure, analgesia may be administered. Then, your dentist will make an incision along your gumline, creating what is known as a “surgical flap.” This “flap” of tissue allows a dentist to gain access to the bone along the side of the jaw that is encasing the tooth root.
Once the flap is created, your dentist would then likely need to use a surgical hand-piece to gently layer away the bone so as to provide access to residual root for extraction. Once visible, if the residual root cannot be extracted whole, it may need to be segmented (or, cut) in order to remove it.
Once segmented, your dentist will likely need to “rock” the root back and forth to ease in its removal. This is done either with a pair of forceps, or a dental tool known as an “elevator,” which is akin to a common lever, and somewhat resembles a small flat-head screwdriver. Since the bone in our jaws is soft, this gentle rocking motion actually compresses the bone slightly so the root can be removed without the need to apply excessive force. Final removal is usually done with a tug of the forceps.
Once the tooth root has been removed, and depending on your next steps for care, your dentist may conduct a tooth socket graft to prevent bone resorption that begins rather immediately after the loss of a tooth, or simply allow the opening in the gum to heal on its own as with wisdom tooth extraction. An immediate, or, future dental implant, may also be performed or recommended.