Apicoectomy Richmond, Tx
While root canals boast an impressive success rate of more than 95%, there are occasions when even the root canal dentist’s best efforts fail to resolve the underlying problem. Your dentist will always attempt to fix the issue with the least invasive procedure possible (i.e. non-surgical), but when traditional root canal treatment and retreatment don’t bring the desired results, it may be time to consider an apicoectomy.
What is an apicoectomy?
An apicoectomy, also referred to as root end resection, is a surgical option available to dental patients when conventional root canals (or root canal retreatments) fail or aren’t practical. The surgery is considered minor and typically involves a small incision in the gum that allows the endodontist to directly access the tips of the tooth roots for treatment.
Recurring infection on a tooth that has already been treated (or re-treated) with a root canal is one of the most frequent problems that may be resolved with an apicoectomy.
The endodontist uses special tools to reach the bony area at the end of the patient’s tooth roots via a cut on the gums. She then removes any pus pockets or inflamed tissue around the very end of the tooth root. A tiny amount of the tip of the root may also be removed to permit cleaning of the narrow root ends. A small filling is then placed into the tip of the root to close and protect the cavity.
Depending on tooth location and complexity of the problem, a typical apicoectomy surgery lasts about half an hour to an hour-and-a-half. The endodontist will offer sedation options to keep the patient comfortable throughout the procedure. Be sure to discuss sedation with your endodontist prior to the apicoectomy procedure.
Studies show that endodontic microsurgeries, such as apicoectomies, enjoy a tooth retention rate of more than 90%. As new technology continues to improve patient outcomes in all areas of dentistry in general, and endodontic microsurgery in particular, apicoectomies are a viable tool in the endodontist’s tool chest to save patients’ natural teeth when non-invasive techniques don’t work.
How long does it take to recover from an apicoectomy?
Because apicoectomy is a minor surgery, most patients can expect to experience a quick and uneventful recovery.
The endodontist will likely use dissolvable sutures that come out on their own within 4-8 days. Some endodontists may prefer stitches that do not dissolve on their own. When this is the case, the patient returns to get the sutures pulled a week or so after surgery.
Meanwhile, apicoectomy patients should follow these guidelines to facilitate the healing process:
- You may be prescribed antibiotics. Try hard not to miss any doses and take exactly as indicated.
- You may receive a prescription for pain relief. Take as directed (before discomfort gets out of control!) and do not operate vehicles or machinery if you experience drowsiness.
- Use ice packs for the first 24 hours after surgery to minimize swelling at the surgical site
- After the first day or so, apply heat to minimize discomfort and help the swelling go away more quickly
- Apply gauze to the surgical site immediately following the procedure to help control bleeding. If active bleeding continues for more than a couple of hours, try placing a moist black tea bag on the affected area. Call your endodontist if bleeding persists for more than a few hours.
- Stick to a soft or liquid diet for the first few days after surgery and try not to chew with the affected tooth
- Keep all follow-up appointments with your endodontist to monitor your progress and ensure proper healing
Do I need an apicoectomy?
Your endodontist will determine whether you are a good candidate for an apicoectomy and recommend the surgery accordingly. Many patients are unaware that modern dentistry offers apicoectomy as a solution that helps retain natural teeth and saves their original smile after a conventional root canal alone proves ineffective.
Before considering tooth extraction, consult with your Grand Parkway Smiles endodontist to find out if an apicoectomy is right for you!
If you are suffering from tooth pain after a root canal treatment, call us at (832) 222-0016 today!