What is an apicectomy

An apicectomy is a procedure performed on patients who have an infected root in the tooth and is carried out in order to avoid dental extraction. Advances in dentistry have made it possible for surgeons to perform certain procedures to save the tooth and return it to health, rather than removing it

When is an apicectomy considered

Commonly, root infections are primarily treated with root canal therapy. Root canal therapy involves the surgeon cleaning around the root of the tooth, removing plaque, decay and infection to allow the tooth and gum to return to a healthy state. However, if root canal treatment fails to remove the infection and it returns, there are two courses of action for the surgeon to consider. The first option is to perform a second root canal treatment, which may or not may successfully remove the infection permanently, while the second option is to perform an apicectomy.

Should the root be left untreated and infection returns, it is possible for the tooth to eventually fall out. An apicectomy attempts to avoid this occurring

What does the procedure involve

Firstly, a general anaesthetic is administered to the patient before the surgeon begins the procedure. The procedure starts by opening the gum tissue to reveal the underlying bone and removing the infected tissue. The surgeon will then assess the condition of the root to determine its health before deciding to slice away the very tip of the tooth root. The surgeon will clean and then seal the root with a small filling, before applying several dissolvable stiches to promote healing of the tissue.

Apicectomy aftercare

As with any operation, coming out of general anaesthetic can leave a patient experiencing lightheadedness or dizziness. It is recommended for patients to organise a carer to accompany them to and from the surgery for this reason.

Patients may experience numbness in the mouth, for a couple of hours after surgery takes place. It is also common to experience bruising, swelling of the gums and tenderness. Patients may be recommended pain killers following surgery to assist with pain relief and swelling.

Here is a list of instructions to help you care for teeth and gums, after a procedure takes place:

Stitches should usually dissolve within ten days of surgery. It is important to understand that prescribed antibiotics may interfere with contraceptives or birth control medication that is being taken.

For more information on this procedure, download the service flyer, here.

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