Who Needs an Apicoectomy?

When your tooth is damaged, decayed, or infected, you head to the endodontist for a root canal. But sometimes, a root canal alone won’t clear the infection or save your tooth.

In the past, you’d probably have the problem tooth pulled. Now, however, an apicoectomy may be the more appropriate procedure. An apicoectomy treats damaged pulp in your tooth and avoids the side effects that a second root canal could cause.

Dr. Robert Scott Nance is experienced at performing an apicoectomy, a minor surgical procedure that removes and seals the tip of the tooth’s root.

Why would you need an apicoectomy? Read on.

Root canal vs. apicoectomy

Most of the time, your dental professional fixes tooth decay or infection with a root canal, which removes decay in your tooth’s pulp and tops your tooth with a crown.

Sometimes, however, a root canal treatment fails, and the tooth pulp becomes infected again. A second root canal treatment can clear the infection, but only after the crown is removed. This can damage your gum line and the root of your affected tooth.

Instead of a second root canal, Dr. Nance may recommend an apicoectomy, a minor surgical procedure performed in the dental office.  

Before the procedure, you’ll be asked to rinse your mouth with antimicrobial mouthwash and take antibiotics and medication to reduce inflammation in the affected tooth.

The procedure is performed under a local anesthetic, so you won’t feel any pain as Dr. Nance makes a tiny incision in your gum to expose the root of the affected tooth. Once the apex (tip) of the root is exposed, Dr. Nance removes infection and decay, damaged gum tissue, and the end of the root. He then seals the root canal with a filling and closes the incision with stitches.

Recovery following an apicoectomy is usually uncomplicated, and you should be able to return to your regular activities the next day. Dr. Nance gives you instructions on caring for the apicoectomy site, and you may have to continue taking anti-inflammatory medication and mouth rinse as your tooth heals.

Sometimes, a tooth is too damaged to be a candidate for an apicoectomy. Then, a dental extraction may be necessary to prevent decay from spreading to nearby teeth. Though an X-ray prior to the procedure may pick up extensive tooth damage, sometimes Dr. Nance doesn’t know your tooth is too weak for an apicoectomy until he’s exposed the root of your tooth.

If you’re still suffering from tooth decay and infection after a root canal, contact Dr. Nance at either his Statesville or Hickory location to see if an apicoectomy is right for you. 

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