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Apicoectomy: Root End Surgery and How It Can Help You

By markplatt on May 06, 2015


A women in a dental chairThe team at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Associates has helped countless people in and around the greater Montgomery area achieve healthy, beautiful smiles thanks to advanced oral surgery and dental therapies. Many people are familiar with root canal therapy and how that can help patients experiencing infections of their teeth. An apicoectomy is another kind of endodontic therapy that can be quite helpful for major or persistent infections of the teeth. Let's consider this procedure in more detail right now.

What is an apicoectomy?

An apicoectomy is an endodontic procedure in which an endodontist exposes the underlying root structure of a tooth as well as the jawbone structure. This is done to remove infected soft tissue from within the tooth at the end of a tooth's root. The procedure is also known as a root-end resection and retrograde root canal treatment.

Why is an apicoectomy performed?

An apicoectomy is often performed following a failed root canal treatment. While the vast majority of root canal treatments are successful, there is a very small chance that a root canal may be ineffective at removing all of the infected dental pulp from a tooth. In such cases, an apicoectomy helps save a tooth from extraction. X-rays and other advanced diagnostics will be used to determine if an apicoectomy is an ideal option for you and your needs.

Ideal Candidates for an Apicoectomy

The best candidates for an apicoectomy are people who have undergone a root canal that ultimately proved ineffective. There should still be a viable chance of saving the tooth through the apicoectomy, which means that the infected dental pulp should not have spread through the jawbone. During a consultation with your endodontist, you will be able to learn more about all of these matters in greater detail.

The Apicoectomy Procedure

An apicoectomy is performed under local anesthetic. An incision is made along the gumline in order to access the root end and bone structure of the jaw. A microscrope is used to in order to get a detailed view of the root canals and to safely remove the infected tissue. The root tip is removed during this process, an small bone graft is generally placed in order to ensure proper healing. The endodontist will then suture the treatment area at the end of the procedure.

The apicoectomy can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 90 minutes to perform.

What to Expect After an Apicoectomy

After undergoing an apicoectomy, it's not uncommon for patients to experience soreness and discomfort in the treatment area. Swelling is also a common side effect as the patient recovers. The use of over-the-counter pain medication is effective at alleviating the pain and discomfort, and a cold compress may be used as well to help address the swelling.

Patients should eat soft, room temperature foods for a few days after treatment, avoiding anything that is crunchy, tough, or that has crumbs.

Learn More About Apicoectomy

For more information about advanced endodontic treatment options and how they can help you have a healthy and beautiful smile, be sure to contact our advanced oral surgery center today. The entire team here at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Associates looks forward to your visit and helping you achieve excellent dental health.

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