3 Potential Dental Procedures For Root Furcation

Each tooth in your mouth has, at least, one root that provides an anchor and a tunnel through which important pulp material travels into the root canal of your teeth. Oral infections due to poor oral hygiene or systemic illness can compromise the health and the supporting structures of the tooth roots. Bone loss under and around the roots can lead to furcation, or a widening divide that grows between the segments of tooth root. 

Furcation can weaken the foundation for your tooth and cause the tooth to become loose and eventually fall out. Catching furcation in the early stages offers more dental procedure treatment opportunities, but there are also ways your family dentist can help with more moderate or severe furcation.

Minor Furcation: Deep Cleaning

Furcation is considered minor if the tissue and bone around the roots have only started to deteriorate. There is a visible gap, but the roots haven't fully split apart yet.

The dentist will need to use special handheld and ultrasonic tools to gain access to the roots between the soft tissue and bone. The surface of the roots and the surrounding tissue is carefully cleaned to remove any clinging bacteria. A topical antibiotic solution is applied to kill off any remaining bacteria before the soft tissue is stitched back closed over the roots.

Clearing up infected materials can bring soft tissue back to health and the point of regrowth, which can, in turn, close the furcation gap that had started to form.

Moderate Furcation: Soft Tissue Graft

If the infection has persisted for too long to the point of major soft tissue loss and minor bone loss, a deep cleaning alone often isn't enough to cure the furcation. Your dentist might decide to place soft tissue grafts at the time of cleaning so that the area has enough tissue to properly heal the furcation gap closed.

Soft tissue graft material typically comes from the roof of your mouth, but synthetic material is also a possibility. The graft tissue is stitched to the existing tissue and over time the two segments will heal together.

Severe Furcation: Bone Graft

Severe furcation is usually caused by a significant amount of bone loss combined with the potential lingering infection and soft tissue loss. A dentist (such as Cassity, Jessica DDS) might want to follow up the deep cleaning and soft tissue graft with a bone graft.

The bone graft material will, again, come from elsewhere in your mouth or a synthetic material. Grafted bone is spliced into the weak areas of existing bone and then packed into place with soft tissue. The bone segments will fuse together during the healing process. This triple attack of treatments should close the furcation gaps and help provide a stronger anchor for your tooth.