What is an apicoectomy?

25 Apr 2015

Apicoectomy is a pretty common treatment performed when root canal treatment simply doesn't suffice in terms of keeping your tooth infection-free and healthy; but let's start with the basics. The teeth are connected to the jawbone by roots. Your frontal teeth have one roots while other teeth are characterized by more roots placed into the jawbone. Your tooth's "heart", the part that keeps it alive, it's called pulp and the pulp is fed through blood vessels that pass through the tips of each root.

When your dentist tells you that you need a root canal treatment, this involves removing the infected tissue that is present in the heart of your tooth by cleaning also root canals. If and when a root canal treatment is simply not enough to clean up all the infected tissue, an apicoectomy will be recommended. When a root canal becomes infected again this is usually in consequences of infected tissue being very close to the apex of a root, the tip.

The main purpose of an apicoectomy is to save your tooth before the infection leads to compete destruction of the tooth making it necessary to perform an extraction. To avoid this, your dentist will remove the tip (apex) of the infected root to prevent the infection from spreading further. The procedure consists in making an incision at gum level and lifting the gum to expose your tooth. Once the dentists reaches the root, sometimes by using a drill, he will remove all the remaining infected tissue as well as the tip of the root. Once the area is cleaned, the dentist will seal the root.

A regular apicoectomy usually takes between half an hour to an hour and a half. Right after this micro surgery, you will be given appropriate medicine to prevent any pain and you will be advised to apply ice to all the area in order to diminish swell.

In the next few days following the procedure, you should gently brush your teeth, at least those situated in the still swollen area. You should also avoid smoking or eating hard food. The stitches used to seal your gum will be removed after two to seven days following the procedure. As for the results, an apicoectomy usually last a lifetime, keeping your tooth safe from further infection.