The medical definition of an apicectomy (sometimes referred to as ‘root end surgery’) is the surgical removal of an anatomical apex – the end of the root of the tooth.
It is a minor dental surgery to treat cysts or infection which persist after a root canal treatment or root canal re-treatment has already been performed for you. An apicectomy is a surgical technique designed to reduce the pain of any bone or gum inflammation which has returned and to save the affected tooth from being extracted.
Patients suitable for an apicectomy
You may only need an apicectomy if a root canal treatment and a root canal re-treatment have not resolved the pain you are experiencing from the inflammation which has returned as the tip of the root has not been cleaned and disinfected sufficiently.
What happens during an apicectomy?
- Essentially a flap of gum is lifted to expose the tip of the root whilst the patient is under a local anaesthetic.
- The infected area (including bone and soft tissue) is then carefully removed, cleaned and the tip of the tooth root is reduced in size.
- If possible, the dentist/endodontist may be able to apply a filling with a biological cement to seal the end of the tip of the root.
- Once this minor dental surgery is complete, the gum is stitched back to seal it completely using dissolvable stitches.
An apicectomy – step by step procedure outline
- You receive a local anaesthetic to numb the entire root canal area
- A tiny incision is made into the gum (or cyst if one is present) to remove the inflammation plus the last 3-6 mm of the tooth root
- The tip of the infected root is then sealed using biological cement (MTA)
- Some larger cavities are refilled with artificial bone or filling
- The entrance of the root canal area is then sealed with a membrane/gum transplant to avoid unwanted bacterium from causing a potential abscess or infection
An apicectomy – what to expect afterwards
- Each clinical case as presented is different – we remove no more that 6 – 7 mm of the tip of the root through a tiny passage.
- You may feel a little discomfort or swelling in the hours after this minor dental surgery.
- Aftercare guidance will be offered to you and includes advice regarding chewing, brushing your teeth and the use of pain relief.
- You may need antibiotics post-surgery – so please complete the full course, following the instructions carefully to create the best chance of full recovery.
- If you smoke, you will be advised to refrain from doing to aid the natural healing process.
- You may need to avoid certain activities if you have received intravenous sedation such as driving or operating machinery, undertaking exercise, competing in contact sports, taking sleeping tablets and/or drinking alcohol to excess.
Why choose Wimpole Street Dental Clinic for your apicectomy
- We have extensive experience in endodontics (assessing dental pain and specialising in root canal treatment) and apical surgery
- We have an in-house practice limited to root canal treatments and oral surgeons available to consult on your individual case, as presented in clinic
- If we have already performed your initial root canal treatment or root canal re-treatment, we are already prepared with all your records and knowledge of your oral health, plus we are aware of the original treatment plan and so well equipped to perform your apicectomy if needed
- We have undertaken hundreds of apicectomy procedures and surgical endodontic techniques with great success
- We prioritise saving teeth as our optimal clinical outcome here at Wimpole Street Dental Clinic
If a root canal treatment or a root canal re-treatment has not been successful for you – rest assured that, should you present as a suitable candidate for an apicectomy – that you will be in expert hands at Wimpole Street Dental Clinic.