Sometimes a tooth is infected at the tip of the root, instead of the crown or the body of the root. Although this is unusual, it is often the cause of a failed root canal treatment. Dealing with this infection requires a specific type of procedure called an apicoectomy.
What Happens During an Apicoectomy?
Our Carmichael endodontist first makes an incision in the gum below the tooth. This exposes the roots and allows them to be examined closely. If the tip of the root is indeed inflamed or infected, it is removed. This should leave behind only healthy root tissue.
Since the root is already exposed, further examination is done to insure that there are no cracks causing the root inflammation. If this is the case, the apicoectomy is halted and the tooth must be extracted – it cannot be saved. If the rest of the tooth is healthy, the endodontic procedure continues.
Since the end of the root canal is now exposed, it must be sealed with a root filling. If the amount of root material removed was relatively significant, a bone graft is placed in the root socket to encourage healing. Then the gums are sutured closed. The procedure usually takes from 30 to 90 minutes. The jawbone heals completely in the months following the procedure.
Controlling Pain and Anxiety
A local anesthetic can be sufficient for this procedure, although patients may also request general anesthesia, oral sedation, nitrous oxide (laughing gas), or anti-anxiety medication. Our goal at the Marconi Dental Group is to safely and effectively perform your endodontic procedure while you feel as comfortable as possible. When you have the confidence to request immediate care for an infected tooth, it greatly increases the chance that the tooth can be saved and you can continue to have good oral health.
Video Overview: Apicoectomy
This video shows you how an apicoectomy can be performed to remove an infection at the tip of a tooth’s root.