If your endodontist recommends an apicoectomy, don’t panic. Although the surgical name may sound intimidating, this is a common endodontic treatment. Also known as apical surgery, or root-end surgery, an apicoectomy is a microsurgical procedure that endodontists perform regularly. It is used to correct inflamed or infected tissue at the very end of your tooth root (apex). Here’s everything you need to know about an apicoectomy.
If you’re referred for an apicoectomy, it is because a root canal alone does not alleviate the infection and inflammation causing you pain, or swelling in your tooth or gums. As a reminder, a root canal is performed to treat inflammation or infection in the interior of your tooth (pulp). However, on occasion, microscopic fractures or hidden canals that are not visible during a root canal may persist, and be responsible for your pain. If this is the case, the residual infected or inflamed tissue or bone at the bottom of your tooth root will require apical surgery for removal.
During an apicoectomy, your mouth and gums around the infected area will be completely numbed. Although many patients choose to remain awake during surgery, sedation options are available at Eagle Endodontics if you’re particularly frightened or anxious about the procedure.
Once the area is numb, an incision is made in the gums and the tissue is elevated so that Dr. Sarraf can access the apex of the root, and remove it. After the root tip has been removed, the entire area will be thoroughly cleaned to kill any infection. Then the area will be filled with a tiny filling to prevent future infections from making their way in through any gaps.
Once the area has been cleaned and filled, your gum will be stitched. The gum will grow back in place as part of the healing process after an apicoectomy. The entire procedure generally takes less than 90 minutes.
Unfortunately, because an apical surgery is more involved than a standard root canal, as the numbing agent wears off, you are likely to experience mild to moderate discomfort. You may be prescribed an anti-inflammatory or antibiotic medication to prevent a post-surgery infection. In the days that follow your surgery, extra caution should be used when brushing or flossing near the surgery site. You should avoid hard, crunchy, or potentially sharp foods while you’re healing.
Apical surgeries are incredibly successful for the majority of people. Studies confirm that more than 95% of procedures result in lasting success for up to five years, meaning that these procedures preserve millions of teeth each year.
Am I a Candidate for an Apicoectomy?
If you’ve had a root canal, but your pain has not gone away, you may be an excellent candidate for this type of endodontic treatment. Apicoectomy is a far better alternative than a tooth extraction, as preserving your natural teeth is always preferable to tooth removal.
Root Canal Therapy and Apical Surgery in Boston
Eagle Endodontics founder Dr. Ali Sarraf has repeatedly been named a top dentist for endodontic treatment in Boston by Boston Magazine. At Eagle Endodontics Dr. Sarraf provides root canal therapy, endodontic retreatment, treatment for dental trauma, internal bleaching, treatment for cracked teeth, pulpectomy, and apicoectomy. Schedule a consultation with Eagle Endodontics at our Lexington or Belmont office today.
Lexington Office: 781-863-2453
Belmont Office: 617-612-5677