Your teeth are far too important for your oral health and overall livelihood for you to be without just one—which is why treatment options like root canal therapy are so common, since they ensure the preservation of the tooth! That said, sometimes root canal therapy alone isn’t enough to salvage a pearly white that’s in peril. Fortunately, an apicoectomy can be performed in these instances, thereby ensuring a healthy future for the compromised tooth in question. Here’s a little more about this procedure and when it’s necessary, along with what you can expect afterward!
Generally, a root canal is often all that’s needed to save teeth that have suffered pulp injuries and prevent them from needing to be extracted. But occasionally, this useful, non-surgical procedure might not be enough to heal the tooth, and in these instances, Dr. Stern might recommend an endodontic surgical option. Endodontic surgery can be used to locate hidden fractures, canals, or other issues that don’t always appear on X-rays, but still manifest pain in teeth. Damaged root surfaces or the surrounding bone may also be treated with endodontic surgery—and the go-to surgical procedure used is known as an apicoectomy, also called a root-end resection.
An apicoectomy is a common dental procedure where inflamed gum tissue, along with the end of the root of your tooth, is removed, while the top of your tooth is left in place. It’s often called a root-end resection because it works on the end, or tip, of your root, known as the apex. This differs from root canal treatment, in which the tooth is opened up, cleaned out, and then filled and resealed. An apicoectomy can be performed following a root canal, in many cases.
Apicoectomies cause very little discomfort to begin with and can usually be completed in a single visit. First, an incision is made in the gum tissue to expose the bone and surrounding inflamed tissue. The damaged tissue is removed, along with the end of the root tip, and a root-end filling is placed to prevent reinfection. The bone naturally heals around the root over months, restoring full functionality.
Following an apicoectomy, patients can expect some discomfort or slight swelling for the first day as the incision heals, but this is quite standard for any surgical procedure (the procedure itself isn’t outright painful). To alleviate any discomfort, pain medications can be utilized along with cold compresses. You’ll also want to keep your mouth clean following the procedure, but be careful around the stitched area. Once 24 hours have passed, you can rinse your mouth with warm salt water to assist with healing. If you’re experiencing pain that doesn’t let up or respond to medication, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Stern for assistance!