What Is An Apicoectomy?

At Southern Endodontic Specialists, we focus primarily on the health and well-being of the inside of your teeth. The inside of your teeth is incredibly important, as a single corrupted tooth can, over time, affect other structures in your mouth. A root canal is one of the most common procedures performed within our office and any other endodontist’s office. 

A root canal is a process of removing damaged and dead organic material from within your tooth’s root canal system. However, there are other procedures we perform to ensure the health of your teeth, including an apicoectomy. If your general dentist has told you that you need to have an apicoectomy performed, your first question is likely, “what is an apicoectomy?” After all, the procedure isn’t as common as other dental services.

To better illustrate the procedure and why you might need one, here is everything you need to know about an apicoectomy.

What Is An Apicoectomy?

The roots of your teeth play an important role in the life of your teeth. They help anchor your teeth in place. However, the roots do not aimlessly twist through your gums like tree roots in dirt. The roots of your teeth are actually held securely in place as they stretch to the jawbone. It is why your teeth, even with the root system, do not wiggle when chewing something hard.

During an apicoectomy procedure, also known as a root end surgery, the tip of your tooth’s root is removed. The smaller the root removed, the better, and all endodontists will ensure to take off only what is necessary.

Why Would You Need An Apicoectomy?

If the roots of your teeth connecting with the jawbone are so important, why would there be a procedure to cut off the tips of the roots? There are times when an infection can develop within the root canal and spread deep into the roots. In essence, it is an extreme case of a root canal.

During a root canal, your dentist or endodontist will go into the tooth and remove all dead and infected organic material. However, if the infection is not caught soon enough, or if it starts below the gum line, to begin with, the bacteria can spread deep into the root system. When this happens, a regular root canal will not prove beneficial, and, in the end, the tooth can’t be saved during such a procedure.

An apicoectomy is performed to remove the bacteria-infected root tip of your tooth. This is done to stop the infection and prevent it from spreading to other parts of your mouth. Root infection doesn’t simply stop when it reaches the end of a tooth. It can spread to adjacent teeth and even to your jaw. If left to fester, the infection of a single tooth can prove catastrophic for the entire health of your mouth.

A dentist might recommend removing the entire tooth to prevent this from happening. However, an endodontist will do whatever is necessary to save your tooth whenever possible. Saving your tooth is ideal, and you won’t have to worry about dental implants for the removed tooth.

The Apicoectomy Procedure

Unlike a root canal, where the procedure begins by drilling into the infected tooth, this procedure must begin under the gums. Due to this, a small incision is made into the gums to best access the tooth’s roots.

Inflamed and infected tissue will be removed at this time.  Once the infected tissue has been removed, the tip of your tooth’s root will then be removed. Then the root end will be sealed up in a method, not all that different from filling a cavity.

Finally, your gums will receive a few stitches to seal up the incision.

Is Recovery Difficult?

Not at all. While there is an incision made into the gums, it is minimal. It is nowhere near the kind of recovery required after wisdom teeth removal. The small incision will heal quickly, which is why you can maintain your daily routine (although you might want to take the rest of the day off). Some basic discomfort and minor swelling will likely occur, but most people are pretty much back to normal within a few days.

Your endodontist will give you specific instructions to follow, including diet and brushing tips, as you don’t want to agitate the stitches. Make sure to follow these instructions, and should pain linger for longer than a couple of days or if additional discomfort develops, make sure to contact your endodontist immediately.

Of course, every individual procedure is slightly different, so ask your endodontist any questions you might have regarding the procedure. You will likely receive several specific suggestions and insights into what the procedure will be like for you and your tooth.

Schedule Your Endodontist Appointment Today

Whether your dentist has recommended you see an endodontist or told you an apicoectomy procedure is likely in your future, you need to make sure and schedule an appointment with our staff here at Southern Endodontic Specialists. 

We will perform an in-depth consultation and examination of your teeth to determine the best course of action for the health and well-being of any damaged and injured teeth. If we determine that an apicoectomy is in your best interest, we can schedule the procedure. So, if you have questions about our services or are ready to schedule an appointment, feel free to contact our staff here at Southern Endodontic Specialists today.