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Apicoectomy: When a Root Canal Isn’t Enough

By Roni S. Berbari, DMD on March 02, 2018

An infected toothIdeally, root canal therapy should remove the infected dental pulp from within a tooth. The tooth is then filled with an inert material and capped with a crown to allow it to function once more. Sometimes the bacteria can affect the root of the tooth, and if this is missed in the initial root canal, it’s essential to address these problems before the infection spreads.

That is when an apicoectomy comes into play. The team at our Montreal, QC dental care center would like to go over the basics of apicoectomy and why it may be the best option for your dental health needs.

About Apicoectomy

An apicoectomy is performed to address an infection that impacts the roots of a tooth. During the procedure, the tip of the tooth root is removed as well as the infected soft tissue.

Apicoectomy is sometimes referred to as endodontic microsurgery when a microscope is used to assist the dentist in performing the procedure.

Ideal Candidates for Apicoectomy

Good candidates for apicoectomy are people whose initial root canal treatment was ineffective at eliminating the bacterial infection of the dental pulp. Undergoing apiocectomy is the ideal option for treating an infected tooth and avoiding the need for tooth extraction.

During a consultation at our practice, we can discuss whether or not an apicoectomy is the right option for your. Sometimes an additional root canal procedure will be recommended instead, and in other cases, tooth extraction may be the only viable option to consider.

Potential Risks of Apicoectomy

Apicoectomies are relatevely low risk thanks to modern techniques and technology used to perform the procedure. That said, the primary risk of the procedure is that it will be ineffective and the tooth will need to be extracted regardless. That’s why the consultation process is so important. If an apicoectomy does not seem like a viable option, extraction may simply one performed without subjecting the patient to ineffective dental procedures.

The Apicoectomy Procedure

Patients will be given local anesthetic and perhaps even some level of sedation to help reduce the pain and discomfort of the procedure.

The dentist carefully peels back the gum tissue to expose the tooth root. The tip of the tooth root is removed, as is the diseased dental pulp and tissue residing around the root tip. The root tip is then filled and sealed to prevent further issues.

An average apiecectomy can take anywhere between 30 minutes and 90 minutes to complete.

Recovering from an Apicoectomy

Following an apicoectomy, patients will experience some amount of pain and discomfort. This can be managed using over-the-counter pain relievers as directed. If the infection was serious, antibiotics may be prescribed. Icing the part of the face where the tooth was worked on can help reduce swelling and soreness.

Patients should eat soft, room temperature foods, and avoid chewing on the side of the mouth that was worked on if possible. Avoid the use of drinking straws as the suction can undo blood clots essential for recovery.

The Results of an Apicoectomy

A successful apicoectomy will eliminate the last sources of potential infection within a tooth. The patient will be able to bite and chew normally again when they are fully healed, and will not require further treatment of that tooth’s pulp to avoid the need for an extraction.

Learn More About Advanced Dental Care

For more information about treating infected teeth and improving your dental health, be sure to contact an experienced dentist. We look forward to your visit and discussing these matters with you in much greater detail.

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