On occasion, root canal therapy is unsuccessful at completely resolving an infection near the roots. In this case, your Yuba City dentist may decide to offer an apicoectomy. This is a minor surgical procedure that is often performed with the aid of a microscope and other specialized tools. When performing this type of microsurgery, a dentist carefully removes a small piece of the tip of the tooth’s root, together with any surrounding tissue that’s been infected. That’s why this procedure is also called “root-end resection.”
What creates the need for an apicoectomy? Some potential causes include a blocked or inaccessible canal, a fractured tooth root, or an anatomical irregularity. Generally, this procedure is only recommended after one or more failed attempts at standard root canal treatment. If an infection is persistent, this root canal surgery may be the best solution.
Before carrying out an apicoectomy, a number of factors are carefully reviewed, including X-rays of your tooth and surrounding bone, as well as your medical history and any previous medications you’ve used.
After numbing the area, a small incision is made in the gum. Any infected tissue is removed, along with a few millimeters of the root’s tip. At this point, a search is made for cracks or fractures with the help of a dye; if the tooth is fractured, it may prove better to remove it rather than continue the procedure.
Next, the canals are examined with the aid of a special microscope and light. The canals are cleaned, then filled with an inert material and sealed. A small bone graft may be placed at the site, after which the gum tissue will be sewn closed. X-rays may be taken, and you will be given a few additional instructions. Most apicoectomies are completed within thirty to ninety minutes.
Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications (like ibuprofen) may be taken to counter any swelling or soreness you feel after the procedure, or medication may be prescribed. Most apicoectomy patients resume normal activities the following day, but you should avoid eating anything hard or brushing too firmly for a few days. Depending on the type of sutures used, you may be asked to return in a week to have them removed.
An apicoectomy is a routine and safe procedure that can save your tooth. Still, as with any minor surgery, there are slight risks. That’s why we won’t recommend an apicoectomy unless further root canal treatment is no longer an option. Although extraction is always an alternative, it leads to more complex (and costly) treatments. An apicoectomy can help us to reach the Yuba City Dentistry Group’s ultimate goal: to save your natural teeth, and extend their life as long as possible.