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A hemisection is an endodontic treatment that involves removing half of a multi-rooted tooth, including the overlying crown. It’s a type of endodontic therapy that preserves the structure and functionality of the treated tooth.
A hemisection is only performed on molars with at least two roots. Incisors, canines, and lower premolars have only one root each. Hemisections are also usually performed on the lower molars rather than the upper molars.
Hemisection is a conservative and cost-effective alternative treatment to molar extraction. When a tooth is pulled, it creates a space at the extraction site. A dental implant or bridge will fill the gap, but these treatments can be expensive.
A hemisection typically costs $210. This procedure is covered by insurance. It’s up to the individual policy or plans to determine what is covered and at what level. Medicare and Medicaid also cover hemisection surgery.
A hemisection typically requires:
These extra expenses may not be included in the quoted price. They can cost between $10 and $250.
For additional healthcare cost savings, you can use a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA). Other options include:
Hemisection takes about 30 minutes. It uses a local anesthetic to numb the treatment area, so you’ll be awake during the procedure.
Here’s what to expect:
Tooth hemisection has high success rates. A review of 22 case studies found that more than half of cases reported > 90% success rate in follow-up periods ranging from 5 to 23 years.6
The long-term success of a hemisection depends mainly on proper case selection. Factors include:
The common short-term side effects of a tooth hemisection include:
These short-term side effects will typically pass after 4 to 7 days.
If you don’t maintain proper oral health after surgery, you can develop severe complications. People with periodontitis (gum disease) are more prone to complications following a tooth hemisection. They’re less ideal candidates for this procedure.
The possible complications of a hemisection include:
There is also a chance that a hemisection could fail. You may need to extract the tooth in the future.
A hemisection essentially cuts a molar tooth in half, removing the damaged root and preserving the healthy root. It’s a restorative treatment that helps retain the tooth structure and surrounding alveolar bone.
There are several common reasons for a hemisection. These include:
Root canal therapy (endodontic therapy) involves removing damaged pulp from the inner chamber of the tooth. Then, the dentist or endodontist disinfects the tooth and seals it with a crown.
If a root canal isn’t successful, the dentist may recommend a hemisection to preserve as much healthy tooth structure as possible.
Trauma or decay can cause a vertical fracture in an otherwise healthy molar. In this case, a hemisection can save the unaffected tooth root.
Severe bone loss can leave the tooth root without a sufficient attachment point, threatening the tooth structure. A hemisection can save the more stable root.
Bifurcation is when periodontal disease (gum disease) affects the area between two roots. Hemisection is appropriate when periodontitis is restricted to one root, and the remaining root(s) have healthy periodontal support.
Extensive decay or cavities (caries) can leave the inner pulp of a tooth vulnerable to oral bacteria. A hemisection can save the healthy tooth region and seal it from infection.
Infection or injury can cause the gum tissue to open, exposing a tooth root. A hemisection can remove this root while leaving the remaining root intact.
Since a portion of the tooth has been extracted, following post-op instructions is essential. Treat the area as you would treat an extraction socket.
Immediately following a hemisection, and for the first several days after, you’ll likely experience:
You’ll return to your dentist after 1 to 2 weeks to get the stitches removed. Avoid chewing with the affected area until then.
Your dentist will also check for any soft tissue inflammation and ensure proper occlusion. Occlusion is the alignment of the upper and lower jaws.
After a few months, the tooth will be healed enough to place a crown or prosthesis. After crown placement, you’ll be assigned routine maintenance care (typically annual visits to the dentist).
Hemisection is a conservative and cost-effective alternative treatment to tooth extraction. It involves removing half of a molar with more than one root. The damaged root and overlying crown is removed so that the remaining tooth is preserved.
This restorative treatment maintains the healthy tooth structure and prevents the empty space that would be left by an extraction.
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