Apicoectomy: Understanding the Procedure and Its Importance

The pulp of your tooth receives essential nutrients and blood supply, which enter through the root apex, accompanied by nerves and vessels. When an infection occurs, it can spread to the root apex, leading to inflammation that may require a root canal treatment. However, if the infection progresses beyond the root tip, a more advanced procedure called apicoectomy is necessary to treat the affected area. 

In this article, we will delve into the world of apicoectomy offered by the Houston dentist, exploring the reasons why it’s performed, the procedure itself, and what to expect during recovery.


What is apicoectomy?

Apicoectomy, also known as root end surgery, is a dental procedure that involves the removal of the tip of a tooth’s root, along with the surrounding infected tissue. This procedure is often performed when a standard root canal treatment has failed to adequately treat the infection, and the tooth is still causing pain or discomfort.

Why is apicoectomy performed?

Apicoectomy is typically performed when a root canal treatment has failed to completely remove the infection from the tooth. This can occur for several reasons, including:

  • Inadequate cleaning and shaping of the root canals during the initial root canal treatment
  • Narrow or curved root canals that are difficult to access
  • Infection that has spread to the surrounding bone and tissue

When left untreated, the infection can cause significant pain, and swelling, and potentially lead to the loss of the tooth. An apicoectomy is a last resort to save the tooth and prevent extraction.

How is apicoectomy performed?

The apicoectomy procedure is relatively straightforward and can be performed under local anesthesia to minimize pain and discomfort. The procedure typically takes between 30 to 90 minutes, depending on the complexity of the case and the number of roots the tooth has.

Here’s an overview of what to expect:

  • The dentist or endodontist will make an incision in the gum to access the root of the tooth
  • The infected tissue and the tip of the root will be removed, and the area will be cleaned and disinfected
  • The root canal will be sealed with a biocompatible filling material to prevent further infection
  • The gum will be sutured back in place, and the area will be allowed to heal

Apicoectomy has a high success rate, with studies indicating that up to 81% of teeth treated with apicoectomy remain functional after three years.

What to expect while you recover after apicoectomy?

After the procedure, you may experience some minor discomfort, swelling, and bleeding. This is normal and can be managed with pain medication and ice packs. Your dentist or endodontist will provide specific instructions on how to care for the surgical site to ensure proper healing and minimize the risk of complications. These include:

  • Avoiding vigorous brushing and flossing in the area
  • Eating a soft food diet for the first few days
  • Avoiding hot beverages, smoking, and alcohol 
  • Taking antibiotics to prevent infection

Final thought 

Apicoectomy is a vital procedure for saving teeth that have failed to respond to traditional root canal treatment. While it may seem daunting, the procedure is relatively straightforward, and the benefits of saving a natural tooth far outweigh the risks. If you’re experiencing persistent tooth pain or discomfort, don’t hesitate to consult with your dentist or endodontist to determine if apicoectomy is the right solution for you.


What is the difference between a root canal and an apicoectomy? 

A root canal treats the infected tooth from the top, while an apicoectomy is a surgical procedure that removes the tip of the root and surrounding infected tissue.

Is apicoectomy painful?

The procedure is typically performed under local anesthesia, and most patients experience minimal discomfort during and after the procedure.

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