The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust


What can I expect after the operation?

When the local anaesthetic wears off a few hours after surgery there will be some discomfort. If it is likely to be very sore your surgeon will arrange pain killers for you. It might also be necessary to take a course of antibiotics. The discomfort is usually worse for the first few days although it may take a couple of weeks to completely disappear. You may require a day or two off work during which time you should avoid strenuous exercise.

Some swelling can occur both inside and outside the mouth after surgery. This is usually most noticeable for about two days. It is important to keep the site of surgery as clean as possible for the first few weeks after surgery. If it is difficult to use a toothbrush the area can be kept free of food debris by gently rinsing with a mouth wash or warm salt water (dissolve a teaspoon of kitchen salt in a cup of warm water) commencing on the day after surgery.

This leaflet has been designed to improve your understanding of any forthcoming treatment and contains answers to many of the commonly asked questions. If you have any other questions that the leaflet does not answer or would like further explanation please ask.

The problem

An infection has occurred at the tip of the root of one of your teeth. Sometimes this does not cause any symptoms but usually people are aware of discomfort and occasional episodes of swelling, gum boils or bad taste. You may well already have been given a course of antibiotics in an attempt to treat the infection.

Why do I need treatment?

If left untreated the infection is likely to develop into an abscess or cyst. As well as causing pain this can lead to the loss of bone surrounding the root. As a result the tooth will become loose.

What does treatment involve?

It is necessary to make a small cut in the gum over the root of the tooth and then lift the gum off the bone. The area of infection is uncovered by removing a small amount of bone with a drill. Any infected tissue is thoroughly cleaned away from the tip of the root before 2-3mm of the root tip are removed. The root is sealed with a small filling. The gum is then stitched back into place with dissolvable stitches that take around two weeks to disappear. The whole procedure will take around 30 minutes from start to finish.