What Is Apicoectomy Surgery for Tooth Infections?

oral surgery patient with jaw pain from tooth infection

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If you’ve struggled with tooth decay throughout your life, you’re not alone. In fact, the World Health Organization estimates that nearly 3.5 billion people throughout the world experience some form of oral health issue or disease.

Tooth decay and cavities are fairly easy to treat, with most root canals removing and preventing any infection. Sometimes, though, your dentist recommends an apicoectomy to treat your infection.

Keep reading to learn what an apicoectomy is, why it’s beneficial, and what the process is like.

Why Get an Apicoectomy Procedure?

In order to fully understand what an apicoectomy is and when you should get one, you first have to understand how root canals work.

A root canal is a form of tooth infection surgery that targets inflamed and infected dental pulp within your tooth. The dental pulp is the innermost layer of each of your teeth, and it contains the nerves, tissues, and blood vessels that keep your teeth alive.

This pulp can become infected, through tooth decay (caused by cavities), trauma, injury, or other factors. When it does, your dentist or endodontist may perform a root canal to save your tooth.

During a root canal, your dental surgeon applies a local anesthetic to the infected tooth. Then, they’ll drill into the tooth, remove the infected tissue, disinfect the inside of your tooth, shape it, and fill it.

Most of the time, a root canal is enough to prevent further infection in your tooth. Sometimes, though, infection lingers, or the tooth becomes reinfected after receiving a root canal. These are the times when your dental professional will recommend you receive an apicoectomy.

How It Works

An apicoectomy is another form of oral surgery. Like a root canal, it targets infection inside your tooth. But unlike a root canal, it specifically targets the base of your tooth’s root.

Your dental surgeon will begin by applying a local anesthetic to the infected tooth and the surrounding gums. Then, they’ll make a small incision in your gums at the same level as the root of your tooth.

They’ll remove any infection present in the area, as well as a few millimeters of the root of your tooth to prevent further infection in the future. Finally, your surgeon will disinfect the entire area, fill the end of your tooth’s root, and stitch your gums closed. On average, the whole procedure takes less than 90 minutes.

How to Prepare for an Apicoectomy

Since an apicoectomy is an outpatient procedure, you don’t have to make any special arrangements to prepare for the surgery. No general anesthesia is used, so you’ll be able to drive yourself home afterward.

Your surgeon will give you specific post-operative instructions. Follow these guidelines in the days after your surgery to prevent reinfection or other post-surgery issues.

Make an Appointment Today

When you have an infection in a tooth, you need to act, or you risk more severe infection, or even tooth extraction, down the line. Apicoectomy benefits outweigh any risks or costs the procedure might have.

Connect with a specialist today to figure out the best next steps for you. Don’t know of an oral surgeon you can call? Contact us today, and we’ll set you up with an appointment!

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