In case you have ever needed root canal therapy, you may be familiar with the term “endodontist.” This refers to a dentist who specializes in the treatment of the tooth root. In some cases, however, traditional root canal therapy is not possible or does not yield the most effective solution for your infection. It may be necessary for your dentist to refer you to our office for an apicoectomy in these instances. Below is a brief overview of what you need to know:
What is an apicoectomy?
During an apicoectomy, the infected tip of a tooth root is removed and the interior of the tooth is sealed to prevent further infection.
What is the purpose of this procedure?
The most common treatment for an infected pulp in the root of a tooth is root canal therapy. This procedure removes the infection and prevents it from spreading to other parts of the body. As part of traditional root canal therapy, the entire pulp of the tooth as well as any infected tissue are removed. Occasionally, an apicoectomy is recommended when this is not possible or previous root canal therapy has not been successful.
In most cases, an apicoectomy is performed by an endodontist, such as our doctor. In order to ensure your comfort during treatment, you will be administered a local anesthetic. A small incision will be made in the gum tissue. In order to prevent the spread of infection, the inflamed root tip is removed and sealed. This treatment should take between 30 and 90 minutes. It usually takes less time to perform an apicoectomy on a front tooth than on a lower molar.
Here is what you can expect afterward.
In the first few days following endodontic surgery, some discomfort may be experienced. When brushing your teeth, you should be gentle around the area of your procedure. In addition to over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen, we may prescribe medicine in order to alleviate any discomfort that cannot be managed by over-the-counter medications. Please use medications only as directed by your physician.
In contrast to traditional root canal therapy, an apicoectomy may not require the placement of a dental crown.
Taking action when a root issue is detected is the most reliable defense against infection and tooth loss. For more information about keeping your teeth healthy or questions regarding apicoectomies, please contact our endodontic office.