Apicoectomy is a type of root canal procedure. This procedure is reserved for more extreme cases where the infection affects a large area. Your dentist or endodontist will remove a portion of the root tip as well as the stem of the infection.
What is Apicoectomy?
The inside of your tooth is filled with soft tissue called the pulp, including blood vessels and nerves. These run from inside the top (also called the crown) of your tooth down through its root, where they connect with your circulatory and nervous systems.
The tissue around the tip of your root can become infected or reinfected, even after prior treatment. Your dental professional may recommend an apicoectomy (also called a reverse root canal) to remove the infected tissue. According to the American Association of Endodontists, they may place a cap to seal the end of your root.
Your dental professional will likely only recommend an apicoectomy after one or multiple root canals or when other circumstances (like having a bridge) prevent root canal treatment. Root canals may be unsuccessful in removing all your infected tissue, causing reinfection or preventing healing.
Helpful tip: Your teeth typically have between 1-3 roots (varying on the type of tooth), and each can have multiple root canals, according to the National Health Service.
Before your apicoectomy procedure, you may receive:
- A consultation with your dental professional regarding your condition
- X-rays of your affected tooth and surrounding bone
- Pre-procedure care recommendations, including antimicrobial mouthrinse, medicine to reduce inflammation, or antibiotics
- A review of your medical history, including your past and current medical problems and a list of medications
How It’s Done
If you’re stressed about an upcoming apicoectomy, rest easy knowing that they’re performed by highly trained dental professionals with your best interests in mind. Typically, your procedure will be done by a general dentist with advanced training, endodontist, or oral or maxillofacial surgeon.
An apicoectomy may include your dental professional:
- Injecting local anesthetic to numb the area around your infected tissue
- Opening gum tissue around your affected tooth
- Removing inflamed or infected tissue along with the tip of your root
- Sealing the end of your root with a filling
- Applying a few stitches or sutures to aid your healing
Steps you can take after your apicoectomy:
- Practice your dental routine especially gently as not to aggravate sensitive areas
- Avoid smoking, crunchy foods, or damaging any stitches
- Take medications as prescribed and follow provided aftercare instructions
- Use over-the-counter pain relievers or anti-inflammatories to help with discomfort or swelling
- Follow up with your dental professional if your stitches require removal (many dissolve on their own!)
Though dental procedures can be challenging, many find their apicoectomy to require less recovery than a root canal treatment.
Every dental procedure generally has a risk of complications or failure, but your dental professional will not recommend an apicoectomy unless they believe it has a high chance of success. If the procedure is successful, it should be effective permanently with the life of your tooth. If it is not successful, they may have to perform an additional procedure or extract your tooth.
At Amrita Medical Center, our staff is happy to answer any of your questions and help you decide if the right fit for you. We even offer same day appointments for your convenience. Contact us here!