Apicoectomy (Endodontic Surgery)
What is an Apicoectomy?
An Apicoectomy, or Root-End Resection, is the removal of the root tip and the surrounding infected tissue of an abscessed tooth. This procedure may be necessary when inflammation and infection persists in the area around the root tip after root canal therapy or root canal treatment.
After the tooth is "numbed", the gum is reflected (lifted) to uncover the underlying bone and the root end of the tooth. The root-end is resected (removed) with all the surrounding infected tissue.
A root-end filling is placed to seal the end of the root canal, the gum is repositioned, and a few dissolvable sutures (stitches) are placed to hold the gum tissue back in its place until healing occurs.
After a few months, the bone around the root-end has healed, and all symptoms are gone.
An apicoectomy is performed after an unsuccessful root canal. When an infection will not go away or returns after a root canal has been performed this procedure is usually necessary. There are many nerves that may contain the infected tissue, so it is difficult to ensure that all of the infection is removed during a root canal. During an apicoectomy, the tip of the root of the tooth is removed and replaced with a filling.
In most cases a second root canal is considered before an apicoectomy since it is a simpler, less invasive procedure. Before the apicoectomy begins you will be given a local anesthetic to numb the area. The doctor will start by making an incision in your gum to expose the root of your tooth. Any inflamed tissue will be removed to clean out the area. The surgery takes place in a very small area, and only a few millimeters are removed from the root. For this reason, the doctor will use magnification and small precision instruments to perform the surgery. The precise nature of the surgery gives it a high rate of success. After the root is removed a filling is placed and the gums are sutured. Depending on the type of sutures you may have to return in a few days to have them removed, or dissolving sutures may be used instead. Over the course of the next few months the bone will heal around the root.
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