Most people are familiar with what a root canal is. Maybe you’ve had one, or someone you know has had to have one performed. But fewer people are familiar with the oral surgery procedure called apicoectomy, or root amputation. Apicoectomy, also known as a root end surgery or root-end filling, is an endodontic procedure during which a tooth’s root tip is removed and a root end cavity is prepared for filling with a biocompatible material.
Apicoectomy becomes a necessary treatment when the traditional root canal procedure has failed and re-treating that tooth has already proven unsuccessful, or is ill-advised. The only alternative past this treatment would be extraction of the affected tooth followed by some type of prosthetic– a dental implant, bridge, or denture.
Why choose apicoectomy for treatment?
In cases of failed root canals, this oral surgery procedure provides hope for saving a tooth that would otherwise have to be extracted. A maxillofacial surgeon can potentially save the tooth with this oral surgery, thus saving the patient from having to undergo further treatment and expense involved with an implant.
What’s the difference between a root canal and an apicoectomy?
During a conventional root canal procedure, your dentist or endodontist will remove the tooth’s pulp– the soft layer of tissue containing blood vessels and nerves inside your tooth. If a tooth’s pulp is damaged by decay or trauma, it will start to break down, then bacteria will begin to inhabit that space. During the root canal, the infected pulp is removed and the pulp’s chamber cleaned and filled.
An apicoectomy takes the root canal therapy a step further. During the apicoectomy, your Cleveland oral surgeon, in addition to removing the tooth’s pulp, also removes the tip of the tooth’s root. Then the oral surgeon will apply a small filling to seal the tooth’s root.
Risks of Apicoectomy
Though the apicoectomy procedure is often successful in addressing the tooth issue, patients should be aware that in some cases, the surgery won’t be effective, and the tooth will ultimately have to be extracted.
There is also some risk of sinus irritation, particularly if the infected tooth is located on your upper jaw near the back of the mouth. Similarly, if the infected tooth is located on the lower jaw, there is more risk for potential nerve damage, as these teeth are situated close to the system of nerves in your mouth. Your surgeon at Ocoee Oral Surgery will be able to assess your particular situation, and address any potential risks as they pertain to you.
Recovery from Apicoectomy
Since the procedure is more invasive than a root canal, apicoectomy may result in a longer recovery time with a little more pain involved. Some patients will experience swelling and bruising of the face near the treated tooth, and some pain in the days following the procedure. Our staff can help you understand what to expect, and how to approach recovery from the treatment, and as always, we’re here to answer any questions you may have about this oral surgery.
If you are dealing with an affected tooth, and think an apicoectomy might be the right course of action, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our Cleveland oral surgery team today. We’re here to help.