Root Canal Surgery (Apicoectomy)

When an ordinary root canal does not alleviate an infection in the tissues near a tooth’s roots, your family dentist may recommend a minor surgical procedure called an apicoectomy. An apicoectomy is probably the most common and most effective type of root canal surgery. It involves removing a small portion of the apex (tip) of the tooth's root, along with any surrounding hard or soft tissue that may be infected. For a full description of the apicoectomy process, continue reading below.

What Would Cause You to Need An Apicoectomy?

  • A canal that is blocked or inaccessible
  • An anatomical irregularity
  • A fracture or crack in the tooth's roots
  • One or more root canal treatments have been attempted and failed

Prior to The Root Canal Surgery

Before an apicoectomy procedure, the following must be performed by our family dentistry. First, diagnostic images (such as X-rays) must be taken of the affected tooth and surrounding bone. These can be completed at our Dublin office. Second, we will do a careful review of your medical history, including medications you take (both prescription and non-prescription). Other areas of your personal history may also be reviewed if relevant to the procedure. If an root canal surgery is recommended, the reasons for it will be explained by one of our family dentists.

The Root Canal Procedure

  1. Root canal surgery is usually performed under local anesthesia such as a numbing shot, so you won't feel any pain.
  2. A small incision is made in the gum, and the infection at the end of the tooth's roots is exposed.
  3. The infected tissue is then removed, along with a few millimeters of the root tip itself.
  4. A dye may be used to help make cracks or fractures easily seen; if we discover that the tooth is cracked, it may be better to extract (remove) it at this time instead of completing the apicoectomy. If necessary, your family dentist will explain this process in full.
  5. A microscope and light are used to examine the tiny canals. They will be cleaned with an ultrasonic instrument, then filled with an inert material and sealed up with a small filling.
  6. To finish the procedure, a small bone graft may be placed at the affected site, and the gum tissue covering the tooth's root will be sutured (sewn) closed. X-rays may also be taken as the procedure nears completion.
  7. Most root canal surgeries can be completed in 30 to 90 minutes. After the procedure is finished, your family dentist will explain any postoperative instructions and you will go home.

Post Root Canal Surgery

After root canal surgery you may experience some swelling and soreness in the area that was treated. Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (such as ibuprofen) are usually all that's needed to control any discomfort. You can return to your normal schedule the following day, but you may want to avoid eating hard or crunchy foods or brushing vigorously for a few days. If your sutures aren't self-dissolving, you will be asked to return to our Dublin office about a week later to have them removed. This will all be discussed with your family dentist.

The Goal: Saving Your Tooth

Root canal surgery is a safe and effective procedure; however, as with all surgical procedures, there are some minor risks. That's why apicoectomies are not recommended unless further root canal treatment won't be effective. The alternative treatment, in most cases, would be extraction of the tooth. However, our goal as family dentists is to help you preserve your natural teeth for as long as possible.

Consult Your Dublin Family Dentist Today

Canal View Dental Surgery can help assess whether a root canal surgery is right for you. We will ensure that all your questions are answered, and if required, we will walk you through each step of the process to a healthier tooth. Call and schedule an appointment with our Dublin office today! Together, we can ease your pain and discomfort, while improving your dental and oral health!