What is an apicoectomy?
Typically, root canal therapy is sufficient when it comes to removing infected pulp from the inside of a person’s tooth. However, occasionally, this common treatment is not enough to fully heal the tooth, and we must perform a minor surgical procedure, known as an “apicoectomy” or “root-end resection”, to reach difficult areas such as hidden canals or fractures, and thus remove all of the infection for complete healing. Often the need for apicoectomy comes to our attention because the patient has pain in the tooth that cannot be identified via x-ray—this is usually an indication that the top of the root, the “apex”, is housing the infection and needs to be removed.
What can I expect during an apicoectomy?
During an apicoectomy, we access the top of the root through an incision in the gums to expose the bone and inflamed tissue. We remove the end of the root and any infected material and then place a root-end filling to protect it. The gum is sutured and the bone heals naturally on its own over a period of months.
There is no pain during the procedure as the area is numbed. After the procedure, there is sometimes discomfort or slight swelling at the incision site. This is normal for any surgical procedure. To alleviate your discomfort, appropriate pain medication will be recommended.
Apicoectomies Save Teeth!
Just like root canal therapy, apicoectomies save teeth, which is always our first priority as dental professionals. They are less expensive, quicker, and less painful than the process of extraction and tooth replacement.