Apicoectomy: What Is it?

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An apicoectomy is a surgical procedure to address infections or problems in a tooth’s root tip (apex). It entails the removal of the affected tissue surrounding the tooth root and the damaged or infected portion of the root.

The dentist suggests this procedure when previous root canal therapy has failed to resolve the issue. During the apicoectomy, the dentist creates an incision in the gum to expose the root tip, which is removed and sealed. After a thorough cleaning, they utulize sutures to close the incision. This treatment aims to save the tooth by removing the infection and accelerating healing.

What Distinguishes an Apicoectomy from a Root Canal?

A root canal is a non-surgical treatment that removes infected or damaged pulp inside the tooth. It focuses on treating problems within the tooth’s root canal system. An apicoectomy, on the other hand, is a surgical operation that addresses infections or other conditions in the root tip and surrounding tissues. It entails removing the root’s apex and sealing the affected area to promote healing.

Why Would You Need an Apicoectomy?

The surgeon often performs an apicoectomy when a root canal treatment fails to resolve infection or condition in a tooth’s root tip (apex).

For example, you might need an apicoectomy for the following reasons:

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Persistent Infection

If a previous root canal procedure could not eradicate an infection in the root tip, an apicoectomy might be necessary to remove the infected area and stop the infection from spreading.

Complex Root Canal Anatomy

The root canal system may be complicated or challenging to treat with traditional root canal therapy. This procedure enables the dentist to reach and treat the affected area directly.

Residual Cyst or Granuloma

Occasionally, an untreated infection can cause a cyst or granuloma to form at the root tip. An apicoectomy can eliminate these abnormal tissues and facilitate recuperation.

Root Canal Retreatment Limitations

An unsuccessful retreatment may only sometimes be possible or desirable. An alternative course of treatment is an apicoectomy.

In general, dental professionals perform an apicoectomy to eradicate the infection, preserve the natural tooth, and facilitate healing in cases where typical root canal therapy is ineffective or unsuitable.

What Is the Apicoectomy Procedure Like?

Local anesthesia is used to numb the area during the process. Next, the dentist creates a small incision in the gum to expose the infected root tip. The dentist then removes the damaged portion of the root and any infected tissue. After thoroughly cleaning, the dentist prepares the area for a special filling material to seal the root canal. Finally, they close the incision with sutures, and healing begins.

How Painful Is an Apicoectomy?

Using local anesthesia during an apicoectomy surgery usually results in minimal discomfort. The anesthesia numbs the area, which makes the process less painful. There may be some post-operative discomfort following the surgery, such as mild soreness or swelling. However, this is manageable with over-the-counter pain relievers prescribed by the dentist. Overall, discomfort during and after an apicoectomy is typically bearable and short.

What Are the Risks of an Apicoectomy?

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Although dentists typically regard it as a safe treatment, there are a few potential dangers that could arise, although these are relatively uncommon. There is always a chance of complications after surgery, such as infection, bleeding, swelling, and bruising. Nerve damage can happen, resulting in numbness or tingling in the lips, chin, or tongue. If the roots of the upper teeth are close to the sinus cavity, there is also a slight chance of sinus problems.

In rare cases, the procedure may not fully eradicate the infection, necessitating additional treatment. Before undergoing an apicoectomy, discussing any concerns or potential hazards with your dentist or oral surgeon is critical.

As mentioned, dentists advise doing apicoectomies when a root canal operation fails, and there is an infection at the tooth’s root tip.

Keep in mind that the alternative to an apicoectomy is tooth extraction. So, if your dentist suggests root tip surgery, consider it carefully. Make your decision to have an apicoectomy as soon as possible. An infection around one of your teeth could spread, resulting in severe dental health issues. Call us at ORIS Dental Clinics if you need more information and live in Richmond Hill, Ontario!

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