What to Know About Apicoectomies

The word apicoectomy may sound like a foreign language to many of you. This dental procedure is not as common as most others, which is why you may not have heard of it. If you find yourself in need of one, there are several things you will want to know.

What is an Apicoectomy?

An apicoectomy is a surgical dental procedure that falls under the category of endodontics. We sometimes refer to an apicoectomy simply as an apico, root-tip surgery, or root-end surgery. The procedure involves the removal of the tip of the root or roots of a tooth with persistent periapical infection.

Let us explain a few terms to help you understand this process. The tip of each tooth root is the apex, and any dental word that includes apic- involves this tip of the root.  The word periapical describes the area around the tip of the root. An apicoectomy is a removal of the tip of the root.

During this procedure, your endodontist will access the tip of the root through a small opening in the gums. Then he or she cleans out the infected tissue and removes the tip of the root. After removing any source of disease, he or she seals the tip of the root with a filling material. The surgeon may use stitches to close the gum tissue at the end of the procedure.

Why Do I Need an Apicoectomy?

An apicoectomy is necessary to remove recurrent or persistent infections at the tip of a tooth’s root, usually after a root canal treatment has been performed. Root canal treatments remove the source of the infection by removing the pulp tissue, containing nerves and blood vessels, from the hollow internal chamber of the tooth.

Typically, after a root canal treatment, the body is able to heal from any residual infected tissues outside the root on its own. However, when it does not, an apicoectomy may be necessary to physically remove any infected or inflamed tissue that shows no signs of healing.

What Should I Know Before my Apicoectomy Surgery?

The goal of an apicoectomy is to seal the tip of the root of an infected tooth, remove infected and inflamed tissues, and promote natural regrowth of bone into the surgical site.  This bone regrowth can take several months to occur, and it is often not yet visible on a six-month follow-up image. Your endodontist will monitor the healing of the surgical site with consistently scheduled follow-up appointments. Expect to have a new x-ray taken at each visit.

Typical Pain After Apicoectomy

Immediately following the apicoectomy, you will likely experience mild to moderate discomfort at the surgical site. Most patients manage this pain with over-the-counter pain relievers. Your endodontist may also prescribe antibiotic medications to help in the fight against residual infection.

You will heal most quickly by following your surgeon’s post-operative instructions as closely as possible. You will receive specific instructions about keeping the surgical site clean, taking medications, and returning for follow-up appointments. Following these recommendations gives you the best chance of avoiding apicoectomy complications and experience a successful outcome with the least amount of discomfort.

More Questions about Apicoectomies?

Call Empire Dental Specialty Group today to schedule a consultation with one of our endodontic specialists. We can answer any question you have about apicoectomies and your specific need for this tooth-saving procedure. We perform root end surgeries at both our Beavercreek and West Chester locations.