An apicoectomy is a procedure in which the tip of your tooth’s root is removed. This procedure is generally only considered after a traditional root canal has been done and was not successful. Your apicoectomy will likely be done by an endodontist, a doctor who is also a dentist but specializes in saving your smile. These professionals have years of extra training in addition to their dentistry education to provide you with specialized care.
What can you expect before, during, and after an apicoectomy?
Your Consultation for an Apicoectomy
You may have the consultation with your local dentist, who may be qualified to perform the apicoectomy. However, if your dentist feels you would fair better with an endodontist, you will be referred to a specialist in the area. X-rays will be taken and your surgeon may have you rinse with mouthwash or take anti-inflammatory medicine before the procedure.
You’ll be placed under local anesthesia; however, this anesthesia differs from the type used during your fillings. It has more epinephrine (adrenaline) in it, which is a natural hormone that restricts blood vessels and therefore hinders bleeding both during and after the procedure. Talk with your dentist if you have high blood pressure or have concerns about reacting to the anesthesia.
During the Procedure
After you’re prepped for the procedure with local anesthesia, your endodontist will cut your gum tissue near the base of your tooth and remove any infection present there. The tip of your tooth’s root (called the apex) will also be removed. Usually only a few millimeters of tooth root are removed. Your endodontist may also check to see if your tooth is fractured—if this is the case, you may need an extraction rather than the apicoectomy.
If the apicoectomy is continued, your endodontist will clean your tooth’s canal and seal it. This is done using advanced instruments to increase precision and cause minimal disruption to the surgical site. Another x-ray will be done in order to ensure the infection is gone and your endodontist will complete the procedure.
Healing Up Afterwards
Each person is different and healing times will vary. Your endodontist will instruct you on what medications are safe to take and what foods you can eat and which to avoid. You may also choose to put ice on the outside of your jaw near the surgical site to help with swelling. The second day tends to be worse than the first regarding swelling and pain, so talk with your endodontist about what to expect and what you can do.
Avoiding crunchy or sticky foods as well as tobacco products is a good idea. Also, do not brush the surgical site—it should be left alone to heal. You will have stitches which will need to be removed about a week after the surgery. Call your doctor if you experience additional swelling after the second day or increased pain.
Your apicoectomy will be done by an endodontist who has years of experience performing the procedure. This procedure can help save your tooth and remove a painful infection that may not have been able to be removed with a root canal. Talk with your dentist about what to expect at your apicoectomy procedure!
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