An Apicoectomy, also known as root end surgery, is generally used as a last resort to save a tooth that has proven to be unresponsive to root canal therapy and treatment. It involves the removal of a tooth’s root tip and surrounding tissue. After the area is thoroughly numbed with local anesthesia, a small incision is made through the gum tissues at the level of the affected area. This allows removal of the inflamed or infected tissue near or around the root. A very small filling is then placed in the end of the root canal to seal the canal and prevent further infection. Afterward, a few stitches are placed to assure that the gum tissues are closed and will heal properly. Over time, the absence of the infection will allow the area to heal and return to normal.
Apicoectomy v. Root Canal
To understand the difference between apicoectomy and the typical root canal, you’ll need to know a little about teeth. There is a space inside the tooth called the pulp chamber, which has living tissue, like nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue that keeps the tooth alive. So when you have tooth decay, repeated dental procedures or traumatic damage such as a crack, chip or even a fracture the pulp chamber and canals can become infected. That infection can eventually spread into the surrounding bone and other tissues. So you’ll need a root canal procedure to protect the tooth from biting stresses and further damage.
Root canals may become reinfected for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, conventional root canal retreatment may not be feasible or may jeopardize the tooth. A better alternative is to treat the infection from the root with an apicoectomy. Apicoectomy can save a tooth by returning the entire tooth, bone and gum tissues to health for many years.
The first thing your endodontist will do is diagnose the problem. This requires imaging of the infected tooth. X-rays are most commonly used for diagnosing teeth in need of surgery. The endodontist will see a 3D view of your teeth, allowing them to identify fractures and other damages to the root canal.
How Painful is an Apicoectomy?
Most patients experience little discomfort and swelling as you heal. This procedure is often less invasive than the preceding root canal procedure and involves a shorter and less painful recovery. Your Endodontist will include medications to take and any foods that you should avoid while in recovery. Rest is especially important in the first couple of weeks, so for this reason, ice should be applied for the first 12 hours after surgery. Some patients are able to continue normal life the next day, but you should still take it easy for the first 24 hours.
Consider Dr. David G. Johnson
At David G. Johnson, DDS., P.C. We are committed to providing a caring, comfortable atmosphere for our patients. We do everything possible to make not only your experience but all aspects of your treatment, insurance, and billing processes as easy as possible. You can reach our office via phone, email, or in person. Dr. Johnson is always available if you have any special instructions or need to speak with him. He can be reached at either one of his offices in Layton, UT or Centerville, UT.
Contact us today! 801-618-1197