When an infection develops inside of a tooth, treatment is needed right away. Typical treatment for an infected tooth involves a root canal. With this procedure, the infected pulp and the nerve of the tooth are removed, and the interior is cleaned before being filled. Finally, a crown is placed on top of the tooth to provide additional protection and restore strength. Root canals have a high success rate, but sometimes, reinfections occur. In the event of reinfection, Susquehanna Oral and Facial Surgery and Dental Implant Center may recommend an apicoectomy.
What is an Apicoectomy?
In the event of a root canal failure, the treated tooth can become re-infected. Root canal failure can also point to an issue at the apex of the tooth or the tip of the root. In the event of a root canal failure, an apicoectomy may be recommended. Common causes of root canal failure include:
- Missing canals during initial treatment.
- Complex canal anatomy.
- The tooth was contaminated during treatment.
- Waiting too long to place a crown.
- Improper crown placement.
- The crown has become damaged.
An apicoectomy is a type of endodontic surgery. It is designed to correct the issue in the tooth by removing the apex, as well as the surrounding damaged tissues. It is a complex procedure, so it is often reserved as a last resort following one or two attempts with a root canal. With an apicoectomy, we can preserve the tooth in its socket as opposed to the other last resort option of tooth extraction.
How is an Apicoectomy Performed?
An apicoectomy is performed under local anesthetic, which numbs the area, so you feel no discomfort. If you feel anxious, we can provide sedation to help you relax as well. Surgery begins with small incisions in the gums near the affected tooth, which exposes the underlying bone. Next, a specialized microscope and advanced tools are used to remove the infected tissue in addition to the tip of the tooth root. Once this has been done, we clean the end of the canal and seal it. We then place a small fitting on the end of the canal to prevent re-infection. Finally, the gums are sutured closed. After surgery, the bone heals naturally around the root of the tooth, allowing the tooth to continue functioning normally.
Recovery After an Apicoectomy
Following treatment with an apicoectomy, we will provide you with specific instructions to help ensure proper healing. Instructions will include proper use of postoperative medications, what foods to avoid, and how to properly care for the surgical wound. Instructions will also provide you with tips on how to deal with common post-surgical issues such as pain and swelling. Following your instructions is important for reducing the risk of potential post-surgical complications.
Benefits of an Apicoectomy
There are several benefits that come with an apicoectomy, including:
- Prevention of serious oral health issues. By removing infected tissue, we help to prevent the development of serious oral, and even overall, health issues.
- Alleviation of tooth pain. Eliminating the infection gets rid of tooth pain. This also helps to improve your quality of life.
- Avoiding a tooth extraction. With an apicoectomy, the tooth can stay in the socket, preventing the need for a tooth extraction.
If you have noticed symptoms of an infection in a tooth previously treated with a root canal, an apicoectomy may be necessary. Call Susquehanna Oral and Facial Surgery and Dental Implant Center at (570) 323-1900 to schedule your appointment today.