Teeth that become decayed and infected can often lead to bone infection and destruction at the root tip / apex. Root canal procedures are often used to correct this problem. Occasionally, a root canal procedure will not be sufficient to heal a tooth and the surrounding bone and surgery is recommended. The most common surgery used to save damaged teeth is an apicoectomy or root-end resection. An apicoectomy procedure can be used to locate fractures or hidden canals that do not appear on x-rays but still manifest pain in the tooth. Damaged root surfaces or the surrounding bone may also be treated with this procedure.
What is an Apicoectomy?
The above diagram illustrates this simple procedure. The gum tissue is lifted away from the jaw to expose the bone and surrounding inflamed tissue. The damaged tissue is removed along with the end of the root tip. The root end is then prepared with a special ultra sonic handpiece to make room for a root-end filling. A root-end filling is placed to prevent reinfection of the root and the gum is sutured. Many times, particulate bone graft material will be placed within the bony defect to accelerate bony healing.
Following the procedure, there may be some discomfort or slight swelling while the site heals. This is normal for any surgical procedure. To alleviate any discomfort, an appropriate pain medication will be recommended and / or prescribed.