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What is an apicoectomy?

Teeth have roots that are anchored in place in the jaw bone. The tip of the root is called the apex. When a root canal is done,  the tooth is then cleaned of the infection. Sometimes after a root canal, debris and infection persist. This makes the tooth sensitive and the infection can spread from the tooth to the surrounding gingiva. When an apicoectomy is done, the tip of the tooth (apex) is removed along with the associated infection and the apex is usually sealed. This is performed to prevent recurrent infection completed at the tip of the root to prevent recurrent infection.

Why an apicoectomy?

If a tooth has had a root canal in the past and the infection came back, the problem is often located around the apex of the root. The maxillofacial surgeon can perform an apicoectomy in attempt to salvage the tooth.

The most common reasons for failure of a root canal are:

– Teeth with unusual forms of roots
– Secondary root channels that can not be accessed or cleaned
– Cysts around the tooth
– A broken or cracked tooth

Although the root canal did not work, most of these teeth can be saved by a procedure called apicoectomy. During this surgery, the tip of the tooth or apex is removed and the infection therein is cleaned. If a cyst is present, we also remove it. An apicoectomy is a minor procedure performed in the office under local anesthesia with or without intravenous sedation.

What are the risks?

Dr. Chawla will review the risks of apicoectomy during the initial consultation.




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