An apicoectomy is a procedure performed by an Endodontist (root canal specialist) which is sometimes necessary after unsuccessful root canal therapy. When an infection will not go away or returns after a root canal has been performed, this procedure is one of the possible treatment protocols. There can be many nerves that may contain the infected tissue, so it is difficult to ensure that all of the infection is removed during root canal therapy treatment. During an apicoectomy, the tip of the root of the tooth is removed during a surgical procedure, and replaced with a filling.
In most cases a second root canal (root canal therapy re-treatment) is considered before an apicoectomy, since it is a simpler, less invasive procedure. Before the apicoectomy begins you will be given a local anesthetic to numb the area. The doctor will start by making an incision in your gum to expose the root of your tooth. Any inflamed tissue will be removed to clean out the area. The surgery takes place in a very small area, and only a few millimeters are removed from the root. For this reason, the doctor will use magnification and small precision instruments to perform the surgery. The precise nature of the surgery gives it a high rate of success. After the root is removed a filling is placed and the gums are sutured. Depending on the type of sutures you may have to return in a few days to have them removed, or dissolving sutures may be used instead. Over the course of the next few months the bone will heal around the root.