Teeth are held in place firmly by roots that extend into the jawbone. Front incisors have a single root; molars and premolars usually have several roots. The tip of each root is called the apex. This is where the blood vessels and nerves enter the tooth so that they can reach the crown (the part of a tooth that is visible in the mouth).
A root canal procedure involves cleaning infection and decay from the center of the tooth (the canal). If inflammation persists after a root canal has been performed, an apicoectomy may be needed.
An apicoectomy is a procedure that removes the root tip (apex) then fills the tooth to seal it from further infection and preserve the function of the tooth. It is rarely considered unless a root canal has been previously performed.
Reasons for an apicoectomy
Curved or narrow root canals: Poorly shaped canals prohibit tools from reaching the root tip.
Blocked root canal: Sometimes the root canal cannot be cleaned because it is blocked.
Small root branches: Roots can be very complex and contain many branches. Sometimes these small branches cannot be cleaned and sealed effectively.
In any of these cases the soft tissue around the root of the tooth can become infected, causing pain. Left untreated the infected roots can further damage other teeth and the jawbone.
The apicoectomy procedure
Prior to an apicoectomy Dr Yash will usually prescribe an antibiotic and/or anti-inflammatory medication in order to treat the infection. He will examine panoramic x-rays in order to visualize the problem.
An incision will be made in order to lift the gum away from the tooth, exposing the root. In some cases, a small piece of jawbone must be removed in order to expose the root. Any infected tissue as well as the root tip will be removed. The root will be filled and sealed, and the gums will be sutured. The process involves very little discomfort; local anesthesia is used. After several days the stitches will be removed. The tissues will fully heal in several months.
If you are experiencing any of the signs or symptoms such as swelling or pain that is associated with a tooth that has had root canal treatment, we encourage you to call our office immediately.
If you have any questions or concerns about apicoectomy, please call or contact our office.