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What To Expect For Your Apicoectomy

Going to a dental surgeon for treatment sometimes fills patients with anxiety and dread. But as humans, what we often fear is simply the unknown. Knowing what to expect when you visit your dental surgeon is a helpful way to lessen some of that anxiety. One procedure that dental surgeons consistently perform is an apicoectomy. This tongue twister is simpler than its name sounds. When a tooth can't be treated with a conventional root canal, an apicoectomy is performed, also known as a root-end surgery. Here's what to expect if you've got an apicoectomy scheduled with your dental surgeon. 

The Problem

Sometimes a tooth can't be treated with a traditional root canal. When that happens an apicoectomy is performed to save the tooth. Sometimes the problem is an infection that develops after or during a regular root canal treatment and spreads to the surrounding gingiva. Sometimes, the regular root canal fails to remove all of the infected tissue and dead nerves, and it creates a problem near the apex of the root where it comes to a point. Your surgeon may take x-rays or CBCT, cone beam computed tomography, scans for a three-dimensional view to diagnose the problem.

The Solution

To fix this problem, the dental surgeon will open the gum tissue near the tooth to remove any infected tissue and to expose the underlying bone. Additionally, the surgeon may remove a few millimeters of the root and place a small filling to cap the end of the root and seal it against further infection. To complete this sophisticated microsurgery, the surgeon will utilize a surgical microscope and ultrasonic equipment. Finally, the surgeon will close up the gum tissue with sutures. Over a period of months, the bone will heal around the end of the root.

The Procedure

Beforehand, the surgeon will numb the area with a local anesthetic to ensure the procedure is as comfortable and painless as possible. This requires injections into the gum tissue, and that will involve a brief stinging pain sensation that lasts only momentarily. However, in some cases, your surgeon may also offer intravenous sedation performed by an anesthesiologist if you prefer. The surgeon will prescribe pain medication after the procedure for continued pain management post-surgery and also possibly before the procedure. You should ice the area post-surgery to reduce swelling. Your surgeon will likely recommend a soft diet during the days following the procedure. It may be wise to arrange for transportation to and from the clinic due to the anesthesia, but you will need to consult with your surgeon for his is her recommendations.