Root canal therapy is the only treatment that can save an infected tooth. This effective procedure boasts high success rates, but there are still times when a root canal-treated tooth may become re-infected. Should this occur, an apicoectomy is an oral surgery procedure that can be performed to correct the issue and restore oral health.
Dr. Bruno Lemay performs apicoectomy treatment at our Cathedral City, CA, practice. Here, we will explore the procedure in a little more detail.
What Is an Apicoectomy?
The teeth are anchored by roots that extend way down into the jawbone. An apicoectomy, also referred to as root end surgery, involves removing the very tip, or apex, of the infected tooth root.
Who Is a Candidate?
An apicoectomy is indicated if infection continues or recurs following root canal therapy. To qualify for this type of treatment, the infection must be contained to that single tooth root. The only alternative procedures include a full root amputation or an extraction. Your dentist can talk with you about the severity of your diagnosis and determine which treatment option will serve you best in the long run.
About the Apicoectomy Procedure
To perform an apicoectomy, the affected area is numbed with local anesthesia. Next, a small incision is created in the gums to access the treatment area. Using specialized dental instruments, your dentist will access the infected tooth root and carefully remove it. Once this step is complete, the remainder of the tooth root is sealed off using a small composite resin filling. Finally, the gum tissue is repositioned and sutured into place.
What to Expect during Apicoectomy Recovery
Following an apicoectomy, patients are usually able to resume most normal activities the same day. However, following these recommended guidelines will help reduce the risk of post-surgical complications:
- Take all medications as prescribed. You will be provided with antibiotics and pain medication. We also recommend taking over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Be sure to ask your dentist about proper dosage.
- Use an antibacterial mouth rinse. An antibacterial mouthwash helps keep the surgical site clean and promote healing.
- Skip the gym for a few days. We recommend avoiding strenuous exercise for about 48 hours since an elevated heart rate can lead to increased discomfort.
- Use cold compresses. Application of an ice pack or cold compress can help reduce inflammation and the risk of post-operative discomfort.
- Avoid brushing the surgical site for a few days. While you will be able to brush all of your other teeth normally, it is a good idea to avoid the surgical site for 48 to 72 hours. Your dentist can tell you when it is time to start brushing and flossing in that area.
- Prop your head up with pillows. To reduce pain and swelling, elevate your head with pillows when sleeping for the first one to two days.
It is normal to have some level of discomfort following an apicoectomy. However, if you develop a fever or increased pain during the recovery period, contact our office right away.
Contact Us to Learn More
If you have a root canal-treated tooth that is causing you pain, you may need an apicoectomy. To learn more, call our office at (760) 324-4450 or contact us online.