An Apicectomy is a minor surgical procedure to remove the tip of the root of a dead tooth before sealing the end with a filling.
When is an Apicectomy needed?
When a tooth is badly decayed, has a large filling or has had some sort of trauma including a fall or sporting accident the soft tissues of the tooth (the pulp) may die. It is important that this dead tissue is removed to prevent infection and we do this with a procedure called root canal treatment. However, sometimes this treatment is unsuccessful or not possible and the infection persists at the tip of the root. This can cause pain and may also result in a discharge of pus from the gum above the tooth. An apicectomy is the procedure designed to remove this infected part of the tip of the root which provides an alternative to having the tooth extracted. Even if you do not feel pain or discomfort it is important to consider treatment to prevent the infection spreading and making you feel poorly.
What does an Apicectomy involve?
The procedure, usually carried out under a local anaesthetic, involves making a small incision in the gum above the tooth so that the tip of the root can be cleaned. The tip of the root is then filled with a dental material before the area is sutured back together. The sutures which we most commonly use too close the incision are absorbable and usually disappear in 7-10 days. As with all our treatments, every step and outcome will be explained so that you can make an informed choice.
Following the procedure?
It is quite normal to feel some discomfort for about 48 hours after treatment and you will receive advice on suitable painkillers before you leave the surgery. It is not abnormal to experience some swelling or bruising around the area for a few days but will gradually improve and it is all part of the healing process. We recommend that for a couple of days after treatment you allow yourself time for quiet and rest. You must also avoid alcohol, smoking, exercising and very hot or cold drinks. You will of course receive full advice on how to look after yourself following treatment and if you are not required to be seen shortly after the procedure to review, you will be reviewed at your next routine appointment, usually 6 months.