January 3rd, 2012

What is it?

Sometimes after having a root canal treatment (also called endodontics), a tooth may still suffer from a persistent infection. To treat this, an APICECTOMY may be carried out.

This involves the surgical removal of the infected tip (apex) of the tooth root and surrounding bone and the placing of a small filling to seal off the root to prevent further infection.

If an apicectomy cannot be carried out for whatever reason, the tooth in question may need to be removed.

What will my dentist do?

Treatment is carried out under a local anaesthetic and is therefore painless.

  • A small cut is made in the gum and a flap lifted to make a “small window”.
  • A small amount of bone is removed revealing the infected area of root.
  • The infected area is cleaned and the tip (apex) of the tooth root is removed.
  • A filling is placed at the end of the root to seal it and prevent further infection.
  • The gum is then stitched back into place.

There should be no pain during the procedure although some pressure may be felt and some noise from instruments being used may be heard.

After treatment the area must be kept clean.

  • For the first few days, warm salt water mouthwashes should be used to bathe the area several times a day, particularly after meals.
  • The other teeth should be brushed normally but care should be taken around the site of the apicectomy.

There may be some swelling, bruising and discomfort for a few days after. This should not last too long – an icepack wrapped in a towel on the outside of the face may help. A soft diet may be advisable for a few days.

Normal healing time is approximately 1 week.

Your dentist will discuss if pain killers and antibiotics are needed.