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What is an apicoectomy and why would I need this procedure?

Posted on 5/15/2024 by Elmwood Dental Group
A person holding their jaw in painHave you ever heard the saying, "Sometimes you have to take the bull by the horns?" Well, the same can be said for dealing with stubborn dental problems. When a tooth infection just won't budge, even after root canal treatment, an apicoectomy might be the answer. Let's dive into the details of this procedure and help you understand why it might be necessary.

What is an Apicoectomy?

Imagine the tip of your tooth root as a tiny, hidden cave. Sometimes, even after a root canal removes the infected pulp, bacteria can linger in this concealed area. This is where an apicoectomy comes in. It's like a deep clean for the tip of your tooth root, surgically removing the infected area and surrounding tissue.

Why Would I Need an Apicoectomy?

If you're experiencing persistent pain, swelling, or drainage around a tooth that's already had a root canal, an apicoectomy might be the solution. This procedure is usually recommended when:

•  The infection doesn't respond to root canal treatment.
•  The anatomy of the root canal makes it difficult to clean properly.
•  There's a fracture or crack in the root.
•  A cyst or other growth forms at the root tip.

What Happens During an Apicoectomy?

You'll be comfortably numbed during the procedure. The dentist will make a small incision in your gum to access the root tip. They'll then remove the infected tissue and a small portion of the root end. The area will be cleaned and sealed, and the gum stitched closed.

Recovery and Aftercare

After the procedure, you can expect some soreness and swelling, which can be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers. You'll need to eat soft foods for a few days and avoid strenuous activity. Your dentist will schedule follow-up appointments to monitor your healing and ensure the infection is gone for good.

The Bottom Line

An apicoectomy can be a valuable tool in saving a tooth that might otherwise need to be extracted. It's a safe and effective procedure that can help you regain oral health and avoid further complications. If you're experiencing persistent symptoms after a root canal, talk to your dentist about whether an apicoectomy is right for you.

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