Apicoectomy is another one of those scary dental words which strikes fear into the hearts of most of us.
Put simply, this is a surgical treatment to remove an infection from around the root tip of a tooth. When a tooth becomes infected our first line of defence is usually a root canal treatment, but if this doesn't work, an apicoectomy is the next step we can take to save the tooth from extraction.
Your dentist will make a small incision into the gum to take a closer look at the infected root. If the tooth root is badly cracked, this may lead to a future infection – so unfortunately in this case the only safe option may be to remove the tooth.
However, if the tooth root is still strong, then your dentist will opt to clean away the infection from around the tooth and perform a small extra surgical step, known as an apicoectomy.
An apicoectomy provides an extra opportunity to save your tooth and involves taking away a small part of the root tip along with the infection, the remaining root will be cleaned and then sealed, giving more protection for the future.
There could be several reasons why you may need to have this procedure carried out, including:
This procedure would not be the first point of call for treatment, it is usually only recommended after one or more root canal treatments have been attempted and have failed.
In the case where an apicoectomy cannot be carried out, unfortunately the remaining option is to extract the damaged tooth. In any case, there are several options available to replace a missing tooth, however, a dental implant Is the gold standard option for replacement.
After an apicoectomy it is perfectly normal to experience some swelling and tenderness in the area. This can be controlled using over the counter pain medications and applying ice packs as needed.