What is an apicoectomy?

An apicoectomy is a procedure that is performed in order to save a tooth that does not respond to root canal therapy or retreatment. Much like a root canal, this apical surgery involves removing diseased tissue from the tooth. Unlike root canals, however, this procedure gives us the opportunity to detect possible root fractures that may not have appeared on X-rays.

You may need an apicoectomy if:

  • You have a failed root canal on the tooth in question.
  • You are not a candidate for a root canal.
  • You don’t want to lose your tooth.
  • Your tooth has structural anomalies (like narrow or curved root canals) that prevent us from reaching all of the affected area.
  • You have a blocked root canal due to fracture, debris, and/or infection.

What happens during apical surgery?

When you come to our office for an apicoectomy, our endodontists make an incision in the gum tissue near the tooth to expose the underlying bone and root of the affected tooth.

Using an operating microscope for guidance, we gently remove the infected tissue at and around the root and cut off the root tip.

Next, we disinfect the area and place a small filling in the root tip to provide a seal—this protects the root from future infection. The gum is placed back into position and sutured.

Your gum tissue will return to normal after a brief healing period. After several months, the bone around the root end heals and any symptoms you may have had will be alleviated.

If you have noticed any pain, swelling, or other symptoms around a root canal treated tooth, please contact our office to speak to one of our endodontic specialists.