Apicoectomy: An overview of endodontic surgery.

Why would I need Endodontic Surgery?

Surgery can help save your tooth in a variety of situations.

  • Surgery may be used in diagnosis. If you have persistent symptoms but no problems appear on your xray, your tooth may have a tiny fracture or canal that could not be detected during non-surgical root canal treatment. In such a case, surgery allows us to examine the root of your tooth, find the problem and provide the necessary treatment.
  • Sometimes calcium deposits make a canal too-narrow for the cleaning and shaping instruments used in nonsurgical root canal treatment to reach the end of the root. If your tooth has this calcification, we may perform endodontic surgery to clean and seal the remainder of the canal.
  • Usually, a tooth that has undergone a root canal can last the rest of your life and never need further endodontic treatment. However, in a few cases, a tooth may fail to heal. The tooth may become painful or diseased months or even years after successful treatment. If this is true for you, surgery may help save your tooth.
  • Surgery may also be performed to treat damaged root surfaces or the surrounding bone.
  • When inflammation or infection persists in the bony area around the end of your tooth after a root canal procedure, we may have to perform an apicoectomy.

What is an Apicoectomy?

The below diagram illustrates this simple procedure. An incision is made in the gum tissue to expose the bone and surrounding inflamed tissue. The damaged tissue is removed along with the end of the root tip. A root-end filling is placed to prevent reinfection of the root and the gum is sutured. The bone naturally heals around the root over a period of months restoring full function.

Following the procedure, there may be some discomfort or slight swelling while the incision heals. This is normal for any surgical procedure. To alleviate any discomfort, an appropriate pain medication will be recommended. If you have pain that does not respond to medication, please call our office.

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