Generally, root canal treatment is all that is needed to save teeth with an inflammed or infected pulp from extraction. Occasionally, non-surgical procedures will not be sufficient to heal the tooth and your endodontist will recommend surgery. Endodontic surgery can be used to treat or hidden canals that were not able to be treated with conventional root canal therapy. Damaged root surfaces or the surrounding bone may also be treated with this procedure. The most common surgery used to save damaged teeth is an apicoectomy or root-end resection.
What is an Apicoectomy?
This diagram illustrates the steps of this simple procedure:
- 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.
- A root-end filling is placed to prevent reinfection of the root and the gum is sutured. In some instances, a bone grafting material may need to be placed in the surgery site to aid in healing.
- The bone naturally heals around the root over a period of months restoring full function.
Following the procedure, there may be some discomfort or slight swelling while the incision heals. This is normal for any surgical procedure. To alleviate any discomfort, an appropriate pain medication will be recommended. A follow up appointment will be need to ensure the healing of the surgical site. This usually occurs one week and six months following the surgery. If you have pain that does not respond to medication, please contact our office.