An apicoectomy, or root end surgery, is an endodontic procedure that’s typically performed to address inflammation or infection found near the tooth’s bony end. The procedure targets the root's tip, whether to address anatomical anomalies or correct root canal therapy that has already been performed. The team at Rutgers Health University Dental Associates is highly trained and experienced in performing apicoectomies and can rectify a problematic root canal, as well as any other endodontic troubles, so your mouth is once again strong and healthy.
How to Tell if You Need an Apicoectomy
When an underlying issue that cannot be viewed via X-rays or simple visual examination of a tooth is suspected, endodontists can open gum tissue to achieve a better view of the tooth in question, assess the condition of the underlying bone and determine whether or not inflamed or infected tissue at the root is causing problems. Additionally, an apicoectomy can address continuing issues after a root canal is performed. During the initial root canal process, your dentist opens the tooth pulp, extracts damaged or infected tissue, cleans out the canal and then seals it off. However, because the tooth canal is made up of a complex series of branches, sometimes infected tissue gets left behind, or infection moves beyond the tooth canal system into the bone.
When this happens, you may notice persistent pain and/or swelling near the site of the affected tooth. Sometimes a sinus tract, or a draining pimple, may form. It may go away and come back over time. The sinus tract acts as a drain for pus from infection, and is a common sign that persistent infection remains after the initial root canal procedure.
This can lead to pain, swelling, tenderness, difficulty chewing and sensitivity to heat and cold. Deep tooth decay can also cause an abscess to form and may even require the tooth to be extracted.
If you notice any of these symptoms, you’ll need to schedule a visit with your dentist to help determine what might be going on.
Aside from cavities, your dentist may also prescribe a root canal for faulty crowns, trauma to the tooth, cracks or chips and more.
What to Expect During the Procedure
It’s important to remember that endodontic procedures are recommended based on your individual situation, so your dentist may not feel an apicoectomy is necessary to address your infection or inflammation. Additional X-rays may be required in order to determine the best approach, and you may be given antibiotics to fight infection.
During the apicoectomy, the dentist will remove the root tip and any infected tissue. After that, the root end is then filled and sealed. He or she will utilize a microscope and microscopic tools to ensure a greater chance of success. Because only the tip, or apex, of the root is removed – instead of the entire root – it’s called an apicoectomy rather than a root resection.
If an apicoectomy cannot be performed for any reason, the tooth itself may need to be extracted.
Schedule an Appointment Today
If you’re preparing for an apicoectomy, please call Rutgers Health University Dental Associates for more information. And if you think you might need to have the procedure, schedule an appointment at our New Brunswick or Newark office to come in for a consultation.