Advances in dental instruments have made microsurgery on the teeth a modern answer to age-old dental pain. Thanks to microscopes and precise dental tools, endodontic surgeons can often save infected teeth that once would have been pulled without a second thought.
A procedure called apicoectomy is one of the contemporary surgical methods used by endodontic surgeons to restore the health of ailing teeth. Here’s a short guide to apicoectomy for patients.
After a root canal, you may feel persistent swelling and pain in the affected tooth. Your dentist may recommend another root canal, or they may recommend an apicoectomy. Both procedures are designed to save a tooth that is at risk of complete failure.
In technical terms, the description of an apicoectomy is a root-end resection with root-end filling. The procedure is preferable to performing a second root canal treatment in a tooth that has a bridge or crown over it.
An apicoectomy is a procedure where the following five things happen:
In many cases, an apicoectomy can save a tooth from extraction. Removing infectious lesions and sealing the end of the tooth’s root is often enough to give it a fresh start in your mouth and let you keep the tooth for a lifetime.
Your teeth should be in good shape to undergo the apicoectomy. If your painful tooth is badly cracked or otherwise compromised, the apicoectomy is not recommended.
Likewise, if a tooth can’t withstand its function — for example, a molar that’s too weak to grind against other teeth — it’s better to try another dental strategy. Teeth that are heavily decayed, degraded, or weakened are not good candidates for apicoectomy and will eventually be lost anyway.
Alternatives to the apicoectomy include having the affected tooth extracted. Your endodontist can graft the jawbone to accept an implant or you can have a conventional bridge installed to restore looks and function to your teeth.
Tell your endodontists about all of the medications and vitamins you take. You may be advised to temporarily stop taking medications including blood thinners, but most other medications are normally taken as prescribed before the apicoectomy surgery.
The staff at the endodontist’s office will discuss in more detail how to prepare for the procedure. Instructions will vary depending on the location of your surgery and the type of anesthesia you receive.
If you expect to have general anesthesia administered, you may be advised to refrain from eating and drinking for six to eight hours prior to the procedure. Ask the endodontist or your general practitioner for their strategies to compensate for fasting if you’re diabetic or have a similar diet-related illness.
Having a clean mouth at the start of your apicoectomy lowers the risk of contamination of the surgical site. Your endodontist may have you rinse with an anti-bacterial mouthwash just prior to your surgery, but you should also do a thorough dental cleaning at home before the apicoectomy.
Brush, floss, and rinse your teeth well to remove all food particles and food-related film from the surfaces of teeth and in between teeth. Use a tongue brush or tool to clean your tongue and the roof of your mouth if possible.
Wear comfortable clothes so you can relax while reclined during your apicoectomy procedure. The surgery can take anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes to complete under normal circumstances. It’s okay to bring a light sweater or jacket in case the office is on the cool side.
You can positively affect the success of your apicoectomy when you follow your aftercare instructions to the letter. Rest and ice packs are recommended for the first 12 hours after your surgery.
Avoid looking at the incision site every five minutes, as tempting as it may be. When you pull your lip away from the gum to peek, you risk loosening or tearing your stitches.
Other post apicoectomy aftercare tips include:
Depending on the location of the apicoectomy and the infection level in the root area, you may be prescribed antibiotics and decongestants. Take these medications as prescribed to reduce the risks of complications.
Contact Renovo Endodontic Studio today to schedule your examination of a painful or swollen tooth. We perform surgeries including apicoectomies in our convenient locations in the Roscoe Village, Schaumburg, Downers Grove, and Elgin, Illinois areas.