Root amputation, or resection, is a periodontal technique used to maintain the healthy portion of a molar that has a diseased or damaged root (upper molars have three roots, and lower molars have two roots). If a single root is infected, the surrounding gum tissue may also become infected, leading to the formation of pockets where bacteria and plaque can gather.
Also associated with roots that are so close together that plaque removal and root planing cannot be performed, root amputation can be used to make room between molars to allow for manageable, non-surgical periodontal treatment to be performed.
During dental root amputation, your periodontist will cut into the gums and remove the damaged root, while leaving the remaining healthy roots and crown. A restoration, such as a filling, onlay, or crown, may also be placed to improve the structure and stability of the tooth.
Depending on the health of the individual molar, as well as its relationship to other teeth and gums, root amputation may be an effective way to avoid extraction and keep as much of your healthy tooth as possible.