An apicoectomy is a common kind of endodontic surgery.
This procedure is used when a root canal treatment has not been successful or cannot be used. A root canal procedure may not be effective if the tooth that is infected has a crown. As root canals are performed by making an opening on the top of the tooth, if that tooth has a crown, a root canal may damage it.
Additionally, root canals do not always manage to remove all of the infection. There are a lot of branches that expand off of your main canal that could carry the infection. An apicoectomy differs from a root canal because, rather than going through the top of the tooth, an endodontist will open the gum tissue near the tooth to remove the infection.
If your dentist or endodontist recommends an apicoectomy, here is what you can expect.
Step 1: Preparing
Although your dentist will not be the one performing this surgery, they can examine the tooth using x-rays and they may suggest a mouthwash or medicine to help treat the infection prior to your surgery.
Step 2: Removing the Infection
The endodontist will open the gum near the infected tooth to expose the infection. They will then remove the infection as well as the tip of the tooth’s root.
Step 3: Filling
A filling will be placed on the end of the root to fill the missing area that the endodontist removed.
Step 4: X-rays
To make sure the infection is gone, the endodontist will take some x-rays of the tooth.
Step 5: Fixing the Gums
Once the endodontist has placed the filling on the tip of the root, they will close the gums and place a couple of stitches in order to reconnect the gums.
The surgery usually takes anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes, depending on the severity of your case. The endodontist will use a local anesthesia during the procedure. Some discomfort may occur after surgery as your mouth heals.