What is an Apicoectomy?
Teeth that have recurring infections indicate an issue at the root level or within the tooth canal. Root canals and related procedures are often used to treat these problems, but sometimes an apicoectomy must be performed.
An apicoectomy is a common dental surgery performed by an oral surgeon that involves removing the tip of a tooth root and sealing it. This procedure is performed as a last resort when multiple root canal treatments fail to adequately address the issue.
What Can I Expect During an Apicoectomy?
In most cases, an apicoectomy is a simple, minimally invasive procedure. Depending on the position and location of the infected tooth, it should take no more than 90 minutes to perform. Throughout the procedure, the oral surgeon views your affected tooth through a microscope. The surgical site is exceptionally small, and the tip of the root is only a few millimeters in length, which makes it difficult to see without magnification.
The oral surgeon makes a small incision near the infected area and lifts the gum away to expose the root. Any inflamed or infected tissue is removed along with the tip of the root. A small filling may be placed over the area where the root tip was removed. Stitches are applied over the incision area.
For affected teeth located in the back of the upper jaw, there is a risk the infection could spread into the sinuses. In such cases, patients may need antibiotics or decongestants for a few days prior to and after the procedure.
Sometimes the condition of the root or severity of the infection is unknown until the surgeon is able to view the area during the procedure. In these extreme cases, the oral surgeon may decide to simply extract the tooth.
What is the Recovery Time?
Recovery time after the procedure usually takes no more than 14 days. During that time, you may experience numbness, swelling, or soreness in the area. Over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen are often prescribed, though prescription pain killers may be necessary. Any stitches are generally removed a few days after the surgery.
An apicoectomy is considered a permanent solution to a recurring tooth infection issue and should last a lifetime.
Are There Risks?
There is a slight risk of nerve damage when working on back teeth on the lower jaw. The endodontist will take x-rays prior to the procedure to locate nerve endings and assess the risk.
Call us at Solace Oral Surgery (615) 320-1392 and we will be a happy to answer any other questions!